Although recent scholarly work on business relationships often discusses relationship quality as a major issue, especially with regard to the phenomenon of vendor stratification, there is still little empirical research on this important construct. In this paper, the authors provide a thorough conceptualization of relationship quality and its possible antecedents, i.e., the direct and indirect functions of the relationship for the customer. Drawing on an empirical base of 230 buyer questionnaires, the authors show that the extent to which a supplier fulfills direct and indirect functions in a relationship has a direct positive impact on the relationship quality perceived by the customer. This impact is especially strong when the customer can easily replace the supplier or, in other words, when the supplier faces competition. The findings are discussed and the authors provide managerial implications for decision-makers from both buyer and supplier organizations.
"The decision of whether to confer this status is influenced by the attractiveness of the buyer (Hüttinger et al., 2012) and stems from the reasoning that the supplier has the choice to assign its customer either regular or preferred status (Baxter, 2012b). After awarding preferred status, the perceived relationship quality often increases which, in turn, motivates the supplier to offer additional functions to the customer and further commits itself to the relationship (Baxter, 2012a; Ellegaard et al., 2003; Schiele et al., 2011; Walter et al., 2003). Therefore, being an " interesting " customer is presumed to ensure the loyalty of the supplier and facilitate open innovation (Christiansen and Maltz, 2002). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: New product development occurs nowadays mostly in joint buyer–supplier projects, which require closer ties between the partners in order to mobilize their resources. One issue arising from this collaborative model is that the buyer tends to become more dependent on the supplier. Multiple cases of supplier obstructionism have been reported. To mitigate this dilemma, this paper analyzes the relevance of customer attractiveness as an enabler of collaboration. Testing this hypothesis on a sample of 218 buyer–supplier relationships, we show that dependency as such is not the issue in the presence of close ties. Buyers who are a preferred customer of their suppliers can accept the risk of becoming dependent on them. The managerial implications of this finding is that firms should apply a reverse marketing approach and thus attempt to become the preferred customers of their important suppliers. From a conceptual perspective, our findings indicate the need to consider dependency not as an isolated variable, but in conjunction with attractiveness.
"Although customer satisfaction has already been recognised as relevant to business success for decades (see e.g. Anderson and Narus, 1990; Cannon and Perreault, 1999; Dwyer et al., 1987; Siguaw et al., 1998; Walter et al., 2003), supplier satisfaction has remained largely unexplored. However, supplier satisfaction may well be a prerequisite to accessing supplier resources. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, supplier satisfaction has gained more attention both in practice and in academic research. However, the knowledge accumulation process is still in an embryonic and explorative phase. Likewise, supplier satisfaction measuring in practice may still benefit from an impetus from academia to be more widely used. This paper aims at considerably expanding understanding of supplier satisfaction by proposing to apply a social capital and a resource dependence theory perspective. We expect an abundance of social capital in a relationship to relate positively to supplier satisfaction, whilst power disequilibrium and dependence from the buyer are expected to negatively relate to supplier satisfaction. It is worth highlighting that, according to research rooted in Hofstede's cultural dimensions model, the perception and acceptance of power differences resulting from a situation of dependency is highly culture specific. We therefore further hypothesise that supplier satisfaction will be moderated by cultural differences and ask researchers to take the cultural dimension into account.
"The concept of relationship quality has been largely attracting several research attentions as an important mechanism which probes to explain the critical features of the relationship between a brand and its potential customers (Qin, Zhao, & Yi, 2009; Walter, Muller, Helfert, & Ritter, 2003). Brand relationship quality was defined by Algesheimer, Dholakia, & Herrmann (2005) as the extent to which customers think of a brand as a satisfactory partner in a long-lasting relationship; it reflects consumer's overall evaluation toward the strength of the relationship established with a brand. "
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