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Article
Publication date: 25 April 2008

James M. Barry, Paul Dion and William Johnson

The purpose of this paper is to specify and test factors surrounding relationship strength between buyers and suppliers in a global, business‐to‐business (B2B) services…

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6365

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to specify and test factors surrounding relationship strength between buyers and suppliers in a global, business‐to‐business (B2B) services context. In so doing, the paper helps extend relationship marketing theories to this under‐researched domain.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review, along with results of field interviews and surveys, provide a conceptual framework for the relationship strength formation process in the context of multi‐cultures. The research then tests a model of hypothesized relationships using structural equation modeling.

Findings

The paper confirms the influence of perceived value, switching costs and relationship quality (satisfaction, trust and affective commitment) on relationship strength. As predicted, relationship quality mediates the influence that perceived value has on relationship strength. Switching costs further mediate the influence that relationship quality has on relationship strength which, in turn, influences substitution scarcity. No support, however, was offered for the proposed moderating influence that national culture (as measured by a buyer's country masculinity and individualism) has on quality/strength linkages and value/strength linkages.

Research limitations/implications

The sample of buyers in 42 countries includes a higher share of buyers from individualist than collective countries. Consequently, a more balanced cultural sample may have supported the otherwise rejected proposition that culture has a moderating impact on relationship building.

Practical implications

The study provides managerially relevant (“actionable”) results which may help buyers execute customer retention strategies that lead to higher customer profitability.

Originality/value

This study adds to the limited literature on building B2B service relationships in a global context. The paper seeks to provide a balanced account of the social and economic aspects of relationship strength formation.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2018

John Andy Wood

This paper aims to empirically examine the proposed framework that incorporates multiple business relational ties as components in a composite that can provide strength to…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to empirically examine the proposed framework that incorporates multiple business relational ties as components in a composite that can provide strength to relationships. Strength is conceptualized as tensile strength or an ability to withstand stress without permanent deformation of the relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses dyadic survey data collected by mail survey from the organizational buyers and suppliers. Analysis is through moderated multiple regression.

Findings

Results indicate that stressors can disrupt individual components of relationships. However, the overall relationship outcome of behavioral loyalty remains intact with tensile strength coming from other components of the relationship.

Originality/value

This research introduces the concept of tensile strength from the material sciences as relevant to dyadic business relationship strength. The outcomes indicate that looking at multiple components of the business relationship provides greater insight into the tensile strength of business relationships.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Guicheng Shi, Huimei Bu, Yuan Ping, Matthew Tingchi Liu and Yonggui Wang

This study aims to elucidate how different relationship investment efforts by a service firm affect its customers’ perceived relationship investment; to determine how…

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1549

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to elucidate how different relationship investment efforts by a service firm affect its customers’ perceived relationship investment; to determine how perceived relationship investment influences various dimensions of relationship strength; and to explore the moderating effects of customer innovativeness and complaint propensity on the relationship between the perceived relationship investment and relationship strength.

Design/methodology/approach

To minimize common method variance, data were collected from pairs of life insurance agents in China and their clients using self-report questionnaires. Hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results indicate that customers value financial effort most followed by social effort and structural effort. Perceived relationship investment influences the affective strength most strongly, followed by cognitive strength and conative strength. Customer innovativeness and complaint propensity both moderate the effectiveness of perceived relationship investment in influencing two of the three dimensions of relationship strength.

Originality/value

This study is among the first to specify how service employees can guide consumer perceptions of relationship investment by applying three types of relationship investment effort. The impact of perceived relationship investment on different dimensions of relationship strength was assessed to demonstrate how service providers can benefit from investing in building consumer relationships. The moderating impact of consumer innovativeness and of complaint propensity was quantified. The research findings have important implications for managing different relationship investment as well as recruiting and training service employees.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Ngoc Luu, Le Nguyen Hau, Liem Viet Ngo, Tania Bucic and Pham Hung Cuong

This study is embedded in social exchange and transaction cost theories. The purpose of this paper is to compare the relative importance of process value and outcome value…

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1111

Abstract

Purpose

This study is embedded in social exchange and transaction cost theories. The purpose of this paper is to compare the relative importance of process value and outcome value in building affective and cognitive relationship strength and to compare the relative effects of each type of relationship strength on attitudinal and behavioral loyalty.

Design/methodology/approach

This empirical study features a quantitative approach. The sample comprises 167 business-to-business (B2B) customers of a large transportation and logistics company in Vietnam.

Findings

Process value and outcome value have different effects on affective relationship strength. The effect of process value is greater than that of outcome value. In addition, cognitive strength has a stronger impact on both attitudinal and behavioral loyalty than affective strength.

Research limitations/implications

These insights extend extant literature regarding the process and outcome components of the service assessment. Further studies also should use a cross-industry, cross-country sample to examine the potential moderating effects of country- or industry-specific factors. These findings show B2B managers how to make appropriate resource allocation and investment decisions to enhance relationship strength and resulting customer loyalty.

Originality/value

To clarify the links among customer value, relationship strength and customer loyalty, this study examines the relative importance of rational and non-rational factors (i.e. process value vs outcome value and affective strength vs cognitive strength) for relationship performance. Unlike most prior research, this study is set in the B2B context of a developing country.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 30 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 26 March 2020

Guangdong Wu, Junwei Zheng, Xianbo Zhao and Jian Zuo

This study aims to investigate how the strength of ties (i.e. strong ties and weak ties) in megaproject networks influences project performance in terms of types of conflicts.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate how the strength of ties (i.e. strong ties and weak ties) in megaproject networks influences project performance in terms of types of conflicts.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey was undertaken with professionals in Chinese megaprojects and 445 valid responses were received. A conflict-based theoretical model was developed and tested with structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results indicated that task conflict had a constructive effect on project performance, whereas relationship conflict and process conflict had destructive effects. Both strong and weak ties positively affected project performance, and that weak ties exerted greater effects on performance. The introduction of conflicts significantly weakened the effect of strong ties on project performance. Strong ties indirectly affected project performance via task conflict and relationship conflict, whereas weak ties affected performance only through task conflict. Task conflict had a constructive effect on project performance, whereas relationship conflict and process conflict had destructive impact.

Research limitations/implications

This study identified the positive effect of strength of ties on project performance as well as the constructive and destructive roles of conflicts. Furthermore, the findings provided evidence that strength of ties and conflicts were critical factors for project performance. While, there are still limitations. There are other attributes of megaproject networks, such as network nodes’ characteristics and network structure, which may influence conflicts and project performance. Future research would be conducted to explore the role of these variables. Meanwhile, because different types of conflicts may mutually transform under certain conditions, future research would also address this issue in megaprojects.

Practical implications

As for the management strategies, project stakeholders should know the existence of project networks, exactly assess their resource endowment, especially their external and internal relationship network. In accordance with changes of the project network, stakeholders should share knowledge and learn techniques about how to respond to relationship disturbances, thus reducing relationship conflict and process conflict. Furthermore, stakeholders should place an emphasis on fostering and reinforcing communication and trust, thus effectively resolving task conflict, ambiguity and uncertainty engendered from network ties in a megaproject network.

Originality/value

The main contribution of this study is threefold. First, this study will enrich the literature on strength of ties by accentuating the roles of conflicts in megaproject context. Second, this study contributes to the theoretical development of a conceptual model for explaining the interrelationships among strength of ties, conflicts and project performance. Third, this study will respond to the call “which dimension, i.e. strong ties or weak ties, is more influential” by exploring the direct and indirect effects of strength of ties on project performance.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2007

Tony Ward and Tracey S. Dagger

There are a number of assumptions inherent in relationship marketing, including claims that a relationship should be developed with all customers in all situations. This…

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19589

Abstract

Purpose

There are a number of assumptions inherent in relationship marketing, including claims that a relationship should be developed with all customers in all situations. This paper seeks to show that marketers should not automatically use relationship marketing techniques for all products and for all customers.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reports the results of an empirical survey of 287 consumers for five service products in which consumers were asked to assess the strength of the relationship between themselves and their supplier.

Findings

Relationship strength was found to vary significantly between service products and individual customers, and the impact of duration of the relationship and the frequency of purchase on relationship strength depends greatly on the nature of the service product. It was also demonstrated that some customers want a closer relationship with service providers than other customers, and this aspect significantly affects the strength of relationship perceived by the customer.

Practical implications

This paper clearly shows that the use of relationship marketing techniques for service products needs to be much more thoroughly researched to provide guidance for practitioners and marketing theorists. The complexity of the “relationship” construct in marketing is clearly shown and there is as yet no known set of “rules” that indicate when relationship marketing techniques should, or should not, be used.

Originality/value

The contribution of this paper is to empirically demonstrate that not all customers want to develop relationships with all service suppliers.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

Angela Hausman

Develops a summary construct, relationship strength, composed of interfirm trust, relationship commitment, and relationalism and supports the role of relationship strength

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3728

Abstract

Develops a summary construct, relationship strength, composed of interfirm trust, relationship commitment, and relationalism and supports the role of relationship strength in achieving positive relational outcomes, like relationship satisfaction and performance. The survey sample comes from a national population of hospital material managers who make decisions regarding purchases from a small group of large medical/surgical supply firms. Structural models support improved fit provided by relationship strength over a model containing the individual constructs comprising relationship strength. Managerial and academic implications of relationship strength include improved strategic planning and actionable information on improving relational outcomes.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 16 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2013

Anette Söderqvist and Sylvie Kamala Chetty

The paper aims to examine the strength of ties that entrepreneurs use during three critical phases of the international new venture's (INV) development; pre-founding…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to examine the strength of ties that entrepreneurs use during three critical phases of the international new venture's (INV) development; pre-founding, start-up and early internationalization.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses in-depth interviews to track the development of five INVs to provide nuanced and detailed findings relating to tie strength during these three critical phases. By focusing on proces, the paper captures in detail the strength of these ties and the dynamics of how they evolve.

Findings

While the existing literature considers strength of ties to be two separate entities, the paper develops a continuum with three different levels of strength by using entrepreneurs' actual relationships. The paper found that stronger relationships predominate and that they play an important broker role to link with other unconnected networks.

Practical implications

Since relationships are crucial for recognizing and developing business opportunities, entrepreneurs need to invest time and resources to create and develop relationships. The study indicates that entrepreneurs have stronger relationships during the early phases of firm development mainly because they focus on essential relationships and cull unnecessary ones that form a distraction.

Originality/value

The paper refines theory by identifying a distinct category the “equally strong as weak relationship” that is not yet mentioned in the extant literature but could be useful for international entrepreneurs to position themselves inside a network in foreign markets. In such relationships entrepreneurs experience the co-existence of importance and uncertainty.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 25 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

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Book part
Publication date: 23 November 2017

Ursula Pregernig

Demographic faultlines (i.e., potential subgroup splits based on demographic attributes) have been argued to have effects over and above those of diversity. Yet…

Abstract

Demographic faultlines (i.e., potential subgroup splits based on demographic attributes) have been argued to have effects over and above those of diversity. Yet, faultlines, much like diversity, do not seem to have positive or negative effects on performance per se, but to be affected by contextual variables as well as intermediate outcomes, such as relationship conflict. Relationship conflicts, a major threat to teamwork, are particularly likely to arise between subgroups. Thus, with the objective to shed some light on why and how exactly faultlines impact group outcome, we investigate the effect of faultline strength and distance on performance through relationship conflict as well as the effect of faultline strength on performance via relationship conflict, contingent on the level of faultline distance. To test our hypotheses we used data gathered in a laboratory setting with 267 graduate students. Results provide strong support for the extension of the faultline model.

Details

Distance in International Business: Concept, Cost and Value
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-718-0

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Article
Publication date: 7 October 2013

Tore Martin Strandvik and Kristina Heinonen

Managing service brands entails managing a portfolio of brand relationships with customers and non-customers. The paper develops a framework for diagnosing the strength of…

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3377

Abstract

Purpose

Managing service brands entails managing a portfolio of brand relationships with customers and non-customers. The paper develops a framework for diagnosing the strength of a service brand colored by a customer-dominant business logic perspective. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Combining insights from the literature on branding, service, and relationship management, the paper develops a customer-dominant conceptual and methodological approach. Brand strength captures customers' attachment to a brand in terms of their thoughts, feelings, and actions toward the brand. Since brand strength is the configuration of customers' and non-customers' brand relationships, the paper divides the brand relationship into two components – brand connection and purchase status – to compose a brand strength map.

Findings

Grounded in customers' accumulated positive and negative experiences, the framework creates a diagnostic picture of the strength of the brand, and an illustrative empirical study demonstrates the mapping procedure's applicability to service brands.

Research limitations/implications

The approach is an alternative to a traditional measurement scale development approach. Future studies should explore the framework's adaptability to different contexts, stakeholders, and industries.

Practical implications

The distinctive model comprehensively captures the aggregate picture of customers' brand relationships, and the managerially parsimonious framework can be adapted to different service settings.

Originality/value

The framework represents a novel diagnostic tool for service companies to explore their brand's strength. The approach is unique because it adopts a customer-dominant perspective. Furthermore, it includes behavior with a relational perspective and negative responses, which reduce overall brand strength.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 24 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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