By analyzing organizations as social actors and business relationships as social relationships, sociology can improve business relationship management. This paper aims to…
By analyzing organizations as social actors and business relationships as social relationships, sociology can improve business relationship management. This paper aims to explore the issues involved.
A business relationship is an interactive exchange between two organizations embedded in a network of business connections. The paper reviews theories of social actions and social actors and the concepts of economic field and embeddedness to illustrate some social dimensions of business relationships.
Social action and social actor theories emphasize that co‐operation is always encumbered with conflicts, that consciousness about the relationship is fundamental for both strongly and weakly structured actors, and that actors (people involved in a business relationship) always have some freedom of manoeuvre. The concept of economic field underscores the specificity of each business relationship and the critical need for concrete analysis. The concept of embeddedness highlights that no business relationship is possible without personal bonds.
These are the first results of a deeper and broader research directed towards a conceptual model of business relationship management.
The paper can help managers to analyze more deeply the social dimensions of business relations with both suppliers and buyers. Consciousness, the ongoing presence of conflicts, the unavoidable role of personal bonds, and interactivity are always relevant in business relationship management.
The paper integrates sociological and business marketing approaches. It applies essential sociological theories and concepts to business relationship management.