سهام رابطه ای و تغییر رفتار در پذیرش خدمات جدید ارتباطات راه دور
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21499||2006||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 35, Issue 6, August 2006, Pages 676–689
This paper first defines and then presents a model of “relationship equity” for business markets. It points out that the potential benefits of managing relationship equity have been largely ignored and that a general model and stream of relevant research questions could be useful to marketing and relationship practitioners. The model developed considers the special case of key account management as antecedent, two different types of moderator variables, relationship equity as a perception by the buyer, and switching behavior via adoption of new telecommunication services as a result of this perception. The model is used as a basis for developing a number of working propositions.
The topic of interfirm relationships is one of the major business-to-business marketing issues currently being addressed by marketing practitioners and academic researchers (e.g., Berry, 1995, Hakansson & Ford, 2002, Morgan & Hunt, 1994 and Sweeney & Webb, 2002). As companies increase their efforts in pursuing a targeted share of the customer's business (Anderson & Narus, 1999), sustaining customer relationships has become critical to success. Vendors are increasingly urged to establish customer relationships that extend beyond individual market transactions (Berry & Parasuraman, 1991 and Dwyer et al., 1987) and to direct resources towards building and strengthening existing relations with current customers (Anderson & Narus, 1991 and Berry & Parasuraman, 1991). How firms relate to their market was one of several key scholarship imperatives identified by Kinnear (1999). Blatteberg, Getz, and Jacquelyn (2000) also argued that customer is a financial asset that companies and organizations should measure, manage, and maximize just like any other asset. This may be achieved through partnering by focusing on specific market segments and individual customer firms to target for close, collaborative relationships (Anderson & Narus, 1991). Vendors who have successful relationships with selected customers in turn reaps the benefits of higher profitability through reduced marketing and administrative costs and better sales growth compared to supplier firms that use a transactional approach to servicing customers (Kalwani & Narayandas, 1995). However, recent research by Reinartz, Thomas, and Kumar (2002) and Hanssens (2003) have shown that there was little or no evidence to suggest that customers who purchase steadily from a company over time are necessarily cheaper to serve or less price sensitive. A framework balancing the resources between customer acquisition efforts and retention efforts in determining customer profitability maximizing balance was subsequently proposed by Reinartz and Kumar (2005). Further, relationship building may not only be the most important resource for the firm (Gadde, Huemer, & Hakansson, 2003) but also the source of sustainable competitive advantage. Buyers themselves seek to reduce choices by engaging in ongoing relationships with marketers (Ganesan, 1994, Kalwani & Narayandas, 1995 and Sheth & Parvatiyar, 1995), recognizing and formally rewarding differences based on their perceptions of how their vendors have treated them (Dorsch, Swanson, & Kelly, 1998). For instance, customers who perceive they are receiving value and feel valued by the vendor tend to spend more money with them on a per year basis and stay with the vendor longer (Berry & Parasuraman, 1991), especially when there are learning costs associated with switching vendors (Sollner, 1996). A strong business relationship also provides the customer with the freedom from having to make decisions (Gwinner, Gremier, & Bitner, 1998), saving the customer energy and allowing time for other activities (Rosenblatt, 1977). Feelings of familiarity, personal recognition and social support (Berry, 1995) are also factors why buyers like to develop ongoing relationship with their vendors. Research into sustainable buyer–seller relationships in business-to-business markets, especially on its drivers, has surged during the past ten years. Building on and adapting theories from a variety of disciplines, relationship researchers have proposed, examined and provided substantial insights about how drivers such as trust (Bitner, 1995, Kerrin, 2002 and Schurr & Ozanne, 1995) and commitment (Anderson & Weitz, 1992, de Ruyter & Lemmink, 2001 and Morgan & Hunt, 1994) have influenced behavior in relationships. Others like Hakansson (1982) have argued that adaptations that provide value to one or both parties reduce costs, increase revenues and also create dependence between the parties (Cannon & Perreault, 1999). Parties in a committed relationship have also been found to develop resources and processes in unique ways and resist engaging in opportunistic behavior (Zineldin & Jonsson, 2000). The extent to which a vendor fulfills direct and indirect functions in a relationship has also been shown to have a direct positive impact on the relationship quality perceived by the customer (Walter et al., 2000 and Walter et al., 2003). While much has been written on relational drivers and relationship outcomes, the literature and empirical studies are deficient in one very important way. There has virtually been no research focus and evidence on the effects of relationship equity on buyer–seller relationships. Although one may get a sense of what relationship equity is, a comprehensive explanation, articulation, and its managerial implications and limitations, within the B2B literature is somewhat lacking. This is surprising considering that in its original conception, equity was originally limited to business relationships (Hinde, 1979). With roots in social exchange theory, sociologists have long thought about the role of equity in exchange relationships (e.g., Blau, 1964 and Thibaut & Kelley, 1959). In this paper we examine how relationship equity relates to buyer's switching behavior in a key account management program setting. These programs are generally typified by large investments by the supplier and the buyer, high switching costs, and extended duration. Viewed in this manner, equity goes beyond the basic notions of customer satisfaction and value. Equity also stresses benefits that are proportionate to one's inputs into the relationship (Kelley & Thibaut, 1978). It is concerned with perceptions of long-term value exchanges although such perceptions may be more immediate, indicating a sense of fair dealings. If there is perceived inequity in these value exchanges from either the supplier or the customer, each partner's desire for another supplier or customer will be increased. Distinction is also made between key account management as a resource issue that may manifests itself at (a) a generalized institutional-level, and (b) specific-individual level. Our focus is at an individual level. Here, the key account manager is seen as a distinct actor from the organization it represents (Hakansson & Wootz, 1979), and buyers do differentiate and form separate evaluations between key account manager and the organization it represents (Doney & Cannon, 1997). From a behavioral perspective, key account management therefore centers on how these managers interact with buyers, and hence buyers' perceptions of the manager's relationship equity management efforts and skills become critical. Our belief is that, depending upon a set of antecedents and the contextual, moderating factors surrounding these efforts and skills, buyers will switch to new suppliers when relationships are perceived to be inequitable. The research setting for this paper is the adoption of new telecommunication services. We choose this setting because of its high level of technological and market uncertainty, and the subsequent intuitive and logical notion that buyers sometimes do rewards their suppliers on the basis of whether they have been treated equitably as a result of these uncertainties. From this analysis, we formulated a number of working propositions followed by a discussion of managerial implications, and of future research needs. We start with an examination and articulation of some of the dimensions of relationship equity and our resulting definition of this construct.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The absence of attention to relationship equity may or may not be attributed to the view that relationship equity does not exist in business markets, or if they do exist, they are not important, or if they are important, considerable difficulties exist in managing relationship equity. But because opportunistic behavior does exist, and an integral part of this is based on the buying organization's perception of how they have been treated by the current supplier, it is reasonable to suggest that relationship equity is important. Relationship equity evolves over the course of a relationship. During this time, the buying organization is likely to have made comparisons in the way they have been treated by the current supplier with treatments they have been getting from other suppliers. They would consider switching to alternative suppliers if they have been poorly treated. In the research context of adoption of new telecommunication services, the opportunity to seek redress, to access immediate rather than anticipated future rewards, are compelling reasons for these buying organizations to consider switching to alternate suppliers. Anecdotal evidence we have gathered from field interviews on interorganizational buying relationships, regarding the adoption of new telecommunication services, invariably centers on unprompted discussions on relationship equity. This evidence was gathered from a list of 30 buying entities in Australia, stratified by size of current telecommunications spending (less than A$100,000; between A$100,001 A$500,000, and A$500,000 and above). Senior telecommunications, administration or operation managers, who were either very knowledgeable about their firm's telecommunications initiatives, or were responsible for past and present spending on telecommunication services, were identified. From the list of 30 buying entities, unstructured interviews lasting at least two hours were held with 9 of them. While responses such as: “I do not like the way I have been treated by the current supplier,” or “Why are certain buyers getting favored treatment and I am not,” or “I have been with the present supplier for so long that they now take me for granted, ” might sound unremarkable, they are signs of how some buyers have been treated. Considering too that some of these buyers have neither the means nor the knowledge to evaluate the superiority of a new telecommunication service, these statements are sufficient justification to consider switching to competing suppliers. This is often the case when industry wide technology and economic benchmarking standards do not exist. Of course, not all buyers want to forge relationships with suppliers. Attempts to address any perceived relationship inequity would thus be wasteful and unproductive. Even among buyers that recognize the importance of forging such a relationship, there will be substantial variations in their perceptions (Hatfield et al., 1979). Finally, the suppliers themselves might not want to forge a relationship with their buyers, especially less profitable ones. Since not all buyers want to forge a relationship with their suppliers, it is possible and even critical that these buyers are segmented along a “wanting to forge a relationship not wanting to forge a relationship” continuum. The variable, within our purposes, is the key account manager's role, efforts, and skills in managing buyers who want to forge a relationship. As a resource issue, the key account manager is therefore important in managing these buyer's perceptions of relationship equity. By knowing when, how, why, and under what conditions perceptions of relationship equity may or may not be invoked, the key account manager will be in a better position to shape and influence these perceptions. These perceptions may be segmented using the dimensions of the relationship equity elements we have proposed in Appendix A. Through the segmentation exercise, efforts can then be made to reinforce some elements deemed important to the buyers, downplay the significance of others, eliminate some, or some combination of these elements. For instance, if there is a misperception that the supplier is not always giving the buyer the best rewards or is not always informing the buyer of their latest service offerings, then steps could be taken to overcome these misperceptions via the key account manager. This segmentation exercise could result in a refocusing of the key account manager's time and effort in managing relationship equity. It could also result in the development of a stronger relationship with the buyers because of the actions taken to correct these misperceptions. These actions may include increasing the confidence of both the key account manager and the buyer in the goodwill of each other or trust. The sense of loyalty and belongingness or affective commitment could be enhanced. To get closer to the buyers, the key account manager might need to adjust their approach to their customers, and develop more effective bonding and communication skills. The key is to ensure that buyer's perceptions of such efforts in managing relationship equity is not misplaced or misconstrued. Environmental moderators of the key account management relationship equity linkage that we have described earlier should also serve as a caution to key account managers against becoming complacent in managing this linkage. For the suppliers, the nature of the buyers and the “keyness” of their accounts may necessitate a reexamination of the supplier's approach to the recruitment, training, and compensation policies for its key account managers. The key account manager's personal and professional attributes, and their management skills, may have to be redefined to ensure better fit with buyers. For instance, a profitable key account that has not realized its potential because of buyer's distrust in, and lack of affective commitment to the current manager, may require the appointment of a new manager to this account. With this in mind, suppliers thus need to adjust and match their key account management approaches to the individual buyer's perceptions of relationship equity in order to minimize potential switching behavior. In closing, we have presented and examined a model of relationship equity that has yet to be tested. The model looks at some of the key dimensions of relationship equity, raised a number of working propositions, and discussed its relevance as a predictor of the adoption of new telecommunication services. The model is intuitively logical and should benefit from empirical validation using the dimensions we have proposed. The model is sufficiently developed for inclusion by business marketing managers in their dealings with their customers. Our hope is that it will stimulate future research on this seemingly simple but important topic.