جستجو برای ارزش ارتباط در بازار کسب و کار: آیا ما چیزی از دست داده ایم؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21118||2010||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9060 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 6, August–September 2010, Pages 986–995
Economic value has always been the main consideration in decisions regarding alternative courses of action in management. The relationship perspective that became popular in service and business marketing research and practice involves the application of the value concept to business relationships. Recent research in marketing on the value of relationships has been concerned with identifying the various dimensions of relationships content that can, in principle, give origin to costs or benefits for the parties involved. The way in which parties in a business relationship perceive and interpret value and how their perceptions affect their behaviors have not been at the center of this research. We will argue in this paper that perceptions impact parties' behaviors and the way business relationships develop, and report findings of a longitudinal study of how buyers and suppliers perceive and interpret value of business relationships. We then revisit the concept of value and formulate three propositions regarding the meaning of value in the context of supplier–customer relationships.
In management practice, marketing and purchasing decisions are regularly made with more or less explicit reference to the “economic value” of the alternatives, which estimates the cost, revenue, and profit consequences of the alternatives considered. In business markets in particular, the economic consequences are the dominant criterion in decision making. Also, the conceptualization of value has a long tradition in research, specifically in economics, management, and marketing. There have been recurrent debates regarding how to define “the value of things.” The issue is subtle, but in economic theory the solution has been adopted to avoid the intricacies of the value concept by referring to the value of objects as the price manifests in exchange. As relationship marketing became popular, the question of the value of relationships turned into an issue of concern in marketing, both business to business and in service. We witness marketing research and practice efforts to revisit the concept of value. The argument for re-thinking the value concept runs like the following: “starting from a concept of marketing linked to transactions, value for customers is embedded in the exchange of the product for money consideration; however, if we assume that marketing is based on relationships, the major role of the product starts to fade” (Grönroos, 1997, p. 411). It is relatively straightforward to show empirically that, in relationships between a supplier and a customer, the economic consequences (costs and possible benefits) do not originate simply in the product/service transactions in a narrow sense, but in other aspects of the relationship. For instance, personal interaction can lead to transfer of valuable know-how, logistics can endanger the operations at a party, and communication flows can facilitate training, opportunity identification, innovation, etc. The issue at hand is that, as a corollary, the economic consequences of business relationships appear to be relation specific rather than transaction specific (Håkansson, 1982 and Gadde & Snehota, 2000). Assuming that economic consequences can and do arise for reasons other than exchange of products and services makes conceptualizing and determining value much more complex. There has been certain interest in modeling and measuring the value of customer–supplier relationships among business-to-business marketing scholars over the years (e.g., Morgan & Hunt, 1994, Anderson & Narus, 1998, Ravald & Grönroos, 1996, Walter et al., 2001, Ulaga, 2001, Lindgren & Wynstra, 2005 and Ulaga & Eggert, 2006). The common thread in this research has been two issues: what makes business relationships valuable and how the value of a relationship can be assessed. Research dealing with the contributors to relationship value has produced insightful and elaborated models of value of business-to-business relationships, which appear to capture well the complexity of factors that account for the economic value of business relationships (e.g., Ulaga & Chacour, 2001, Ulaga, 2003, Ulaga & Eggert, 2006, Möller & Törrönen, 2003, Hogan, 2001, Baxter & Matear, 2004 and Palmatier, 2008). The need to assess and measure the value of business relationships is acutely felt in management practice, but the models of value proposed in literature have had only limited following. One reason for this reaction could be the insights offered from extensive empirical research on customer–supplier relationships in business markets (e.g., Hallèn et al., 1991 and Håkansson et al., 2009). These studies show that the content of business relationships is multifaceted because of the variety of products/services exchanged, the multiplicity of activities carried out by the parties, and the interpersonal communication processes going on between the supplier and the customer organizations. This research also shows that business relationships tend to entail intense adaptations and interaction processes, and complexity of content beyond the grasp of the individuals involved. Under circumstances that characterize business relationships (adaptive, emergent, and interactive situations), management attempts to pursue the criteria of economic value in business operations but struggles to act sensibly. It has been argued that acting sensibly under the circumstances involves interpretation of situations, and the way in which actors make sense of the context appears critical for orienting their behaviors, particularly in interaction between the parties (Weick et al., 2005). The purpose of our study originates in this background. We are set to examine how actors interpret economic value of business relationships in which they are involved, in particular how the actors perceive what gives origin to value consequences. The present study is part of a larger research project dealing with the value of business relationships in the ICT Security industry. Data have been collected through bilateral, semi-structured, in-depth interviews at two different points in time with both the supplier and the customer in a relationship. We carried out 10 exploratory interviews with industry experts before asking 48 key informants involved in 15 relationships (in the first study) and in 7 relationships (in the second study). The interviews were used to obtain indications about what elements contribute to the generation of value of a given relationship in which the respondents were involved. Findings from the study suggest that the perceptions of value tend to be highly idiosyncratic, situational, and flowing. If confirmed, they would have implications for how relationship value can be conceptualized and assessed in research and how it should be approached in the management practice. The paper is organized as follows: in the next section, we briefly review the growing literature on value of business relationships; in Section 3, we describe the study and its methodology; in Section 4, we present the main findings that are then discussed in Section 5. The paper concludes with the implications for theory development and for the management practice.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The aim of our study has been to revisit the concept of value as applied to customer–supplier relationships. There are two main reasons for our interest. The first is that the very concept of value plays a central role as reference for managerial practice; it is the dominant criterion used in decision making. The second reason is that applying the value concept to business relationships is not straightforward and poses some specific problems. The extant research dealing with relationship value in marketing has mainly focused on the different dimensions of relationships that can have economic consequences for the parties involved. It offers little about how actors perceive and interpret value and how the interpretations impact actors' behaviors in relationships. As relationships are made of behaviors, the issue appears to be highly relevant. Our study is a first attempt to deal with value perceptions in business relationships. Findings suggest that value perceptions indeed are at the origin of value consequences of relationships, and that they are actor specific, largely incomplete, and changing. These results have implications for both further research and managerial practice. As for further research on the value of business relationships, we need to understand better how value perceptions are formed and the role of interaction in it. While the findings in our study are not particularly surprising, if they are confirmed, the consequence would be that value of relationships cannot be explained simply from their form and content. Defining and assessing value requires consideration of situational factors, as well. That, in turn, means that the current quest for general elements of value that has characterized recent research on relationship value seems to be pointless—and not very fruitful. Incidentally, it also could be one reason for the limited following it has in managerial practice. Our study suggests the need to understand better how perceptions of value are formed and how they guide behaviors in interactions that form relationships. In other words, we need more studies on how perceptions of value are formed and how the perceptions concur in shaping value outcomes of business relationships. Further research should address at least three topics. The first is the ambivalence and phenomenological nature of the relationship value concept. The second is the process of how perceptions are formed, and the role of interaction and communication in the pictures of value held by the participants. Finally, we need to have better understanding of how perceptions of value impact the conduct of the parties involved when they interact. Managerial implications also are interesting. Managers continuously face the problem of allocating always-limited resources to where the “payoff” is highest. The complexity and ambiguity of the concept of value of business relationships does not change the fact that economic value remains a central concern for management, or that economic outcomes originate in business relationships. If we accept that value perceptions (and consequently the very value of business relationships) are actor specific, bounded, interdependent, and therefore in perpetual change, it becomes obvious that assessment of relational outcomes cannot be based on a given set of criteria reflecting the content and form of relationships. That because of the risk that evaluations based only on these partial structural elements would lead to dysfunctional and counterproductive behaviors in business relationships. Attempting to standardize the representations of value in business relationships is bad practice. We would argue that the more shadowy concept of relationship value emerging in our study appears be more realistic and less risky to use. Acknowledging the heterogeneity in its representations is a first step in devising ways to cope with this heterogeneity that actually shapes the economic outcomes of the relationships. It is important to admit that any stabilization (assessment) of a relationship value is only temporary and that it needs to be reviewed periodically.