عوامل اثرگذار و بین فردی از رضایت رابطه و تعهد در بازارهای صنعتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22820||2005||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 58, Issue 5, May 2005, Pages 619–628
Although factors relating to suppliers' performance on core marketing functions (instrumental factors) and those relating to the climate of interpersonal relations between supplier and customer resource personnel (interpersonal factors) have both been independently advocated as determinants of relationship satisfaction in business-to-business (B2B) markets, there is a dearth of studies that have investigated their joint effects. The author develops and tests a model of relationship satisfaction and commitment in which both instrumental and interpersonal factors are included as joint determinants of relationship satisfaction. The model also examines the links between satisfaction and commitment on one hand, and customers' propensity to terminate a relationships on the other. It is tested with data from a survey of 282 manufacturing firms in Saudi Arabia in which respondents evaluated relationships with foreign suppliers of industrial components and raw materials. The results confirm the hypothesized joint effect of instrumental and interpersonal factors on relationship satisfaction. They also provide evidence in support of a theory-based positive link between satisfaction and commitment, and negative links between propensity to terminate relationship on one hand, and relationship satisfaction and commitment on the other. Theoretical and managerial implications of the results are outlined and discussed.
Relationship satisfaction and commitment are two key constructs in the evolving paradigm of relationship marketing in business-to-business (B2B) contexts, a paradigm whose general theme is the shifting of emphasis from short-term, transactional exchanges to long-term collaborative relationships with key customers. Both in academic and practitioner circles, the current received wisdom is that the ability to engineer relationship satisfaction and commitment among customers is a fundamental basis for implementing relationship marketing. Consequently, research interest in satisfaction and commitment is currently quite substantial and growing, and has spanned a wide variety of contexts, including distribution channel relationships (e.g., Anderson and Narus, 1990, Ganesan, 1994, Morgan and Hunt, 1994, Selnes and Gronhaug, 2000 and Schellhase et al., 2000), business services (e.g., Moorman et al., 1993), and consumer services (e.g., Sharma and Patterson, 2000). Researchers have been particularly interested in identifying the key drivers of relationship satisfaction and commitment, and a relatively large body of models and empirical findings can be traced in the literature. Ideas from the development and maintenance of relationships in interpersonal contexts like friendship and marriage have had a significant influence on this effort, and have led to identification of variables like trust, fairness, shared values, relational social norms, and communication as determinants of relationship satisfaction and commitment in B2B contexts. These variables are here referred to as interpersonal factors. For relationship satisfaction, the literature suggests additional variables relating to suppliers' performance on key marketing functions like product quality, pricing, and distribution effectiveness as key determinants. In this paper, these are termed instrumental factors. Studies examining the effects of instrumental or interpersonal factors on relationship satisfaction can be traced in the literature. However, there is a relative dearth of studies that have examined their joint effects. The objectives of this study are therefore: (1) to develop and test a model in which both instrumental and interpersonal factors are included as joint determinants of relationship satisfaction in B2B markets, and (2) to examine the impact of relationship satisfaction and commitment on the customers' propensity to terminate relationships. In doing so, the study contributes to the literature in a number of respects. By examining the joint effects of instrumental and interpersonal factors, it gives an indication of the relative importance of the two sets of factors and therefore, provides a broader theoretical perspective on relationship satisfaction and commitment than has hitherto been suggested in the literature. It also helps answer the managerial question of whether or not to prioritize instrumental or interpersonal factors in efforts at building satisfaction and commitment in the face of resource limitations. Furthermore, in contrast to the majority of previous studies that have been conducted in supplier–reseller contexts, the model is tested in a supplier–manufacturing firm context. Since the supplier selection literature suggests that manufacturing firms and resellers use different criteria in supplier selection (Wagner et al., 1989), with manufacturing firms widely using quality–delivery–price selection criteria, and retail buyers tending to emphasize product selling history, markup, and delivery in vendor selection, a relevant question is whether relationship satisfaction and commitment are also driven by different sets of factors for manufacturing firms and resellers. Results of this study will help answer this question. Additionally, in contrast to the majority of previous studies that have been conducted in Western industrialized countries with customers evaluating suppliers from the same country, the present study is set in a developing-country context with customers evaluating foreign suppliers. Thus, support for the model will provide evidence of the generalizability of these previous findings. The rest of the paper is organized as follows. The next section presents the theoretical background to the study. There, I review previous conceptualizations of relationship satisfaction and commitment, and discuss their proposed antecedents and consequences. Following this, I present the conceptual framework and develop hypotheses for the study. Next, I present the research methodology and hypotheses tests. I then discuss the results and outline their theoretical and managerial implications. In a final section, I discuss the study's limitations and make suggestions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Although support is not found for some of the study's hypotheses, taken as a whole, the results provide some support for the conceptual model presented in Fig. 1. In particular, they support the central premise that instrumental (product quality) and interpersonal factors (benevolence and credibility) are jointly important determinants of relationship satisfaction in B2B markets. In terms of relative effects, the pattern of parameter estimates suggests that interpersonal factors are relatively more important drivers of satisfaction than instrumental factors, insofar as the regression parameters for benevolence and credibility are higher than for product quality. This finding confirms a suggestion by Abdul-Muhmin (2002) that previous results on the effects of instrumental factors on relationship satisfaction may be attenuated by interpersonal factors if both sets of factors are included in a given model, and calls attention to the need for models of relationship satisfaction in B2B contexts to include both sets of factors. One possible direction in which such future model development could take is to integrate the present findings with temporal models of the development of buyer–seller relationships. For instance, Ford (1982) suggests five stages in the development of buyer–seller relationships and identifies distinguishing characteristics of each stage in terms of initiation of supplier evaluation, conditioning of the evaluation, and the extent of customer commitment to the relationship. It may well be that the relative effects of instrumental and interpersonal factors on relationship satisfaction depend upon the particular stage of relationship development. Instrumental and interpersonal factors may function much like facilitating and enhancing factors in the services marketing literature (see, e.g., Lovelock, 2001, p. 232), with instrumental factors constituting the basis for starting a relationship (i.e., the foundations upon which the relationship is built), while interpersonal factors help to cement the relationship. In that case, instrumental factors may be critical determinants of satisfaction during early stages of relationship development, while interpersonal factors will be drivers during later stages. Unfortunately, these propositions could not be tested in the present study because it did not include a temporal dimension. Among the four instrumental factors, only product quality has a significant effect on relationship satisfaction. This finding underscores its importance in industrial marketing contexts. In the supplier selection literature, product quality has been identified as a critically important criterion in the raw materials and components purchase decisions of industrial firms (Wilson, 1994). The present results show that, in addition to serving as a critical supplier selection criterion, it also plays a significant role in postpurchase relationship satisfaction. The lack of significant effects of the other instrumental factors could be attributable to the presence of the relatively more important interpersonal factors in the model. This suggests that previous studies that examined the effect of only instrumental factors on relationship satisfaction may have overestimated the relative importance of these factors. Consistent with the conceptual model, the present results show that relationship commitment is positively related to supplier benevolence and credibility, and customers' relationship satisfaction. This is consistent with previous findings from supplier–reseller contexts (e.g., Doney and Cannon, 1997, Ganesan, 1994, Schellhase et al., 2000 and Selnes and Gronhaug, 2000), and underscores the growing importance of trust and its dimensions in the development and maintenance of long-term buyer–seller relationships in B2B markets. However, contrary to expectations, opportunism has a positive (rather than negative) effect on relationship commitment. One possible explanation for this could be found in the unique structure of the Saudi industrial and commercial environment, which is dominated by family-owned businesses. Intense commercial rivalry among the families means that secrecy is a very prominent characteristic of the corporate cultures of these businesses. Company data that can easily be found in the financial sections of Western newspapers are highly protected and treated as top secret in Saudi Arabia, and this is widely considered a normal way of doing business. Given this kind of corporate culture, hiding business information, being suspicious of business partners' recommendations and exercising caution in dealing with exchange partners may not have dysfunctional effects on commitment as is the case in the West. Another possible explanation may lie in the fact that most Saudi manufacturing firms are joint venture partnerships between these family businesses and foreign technology suppliers. Prior to 2001 when the regulations on direct foreign investment were relaxed, these foreign partners were forced into the joint venture option by government regulations that prohibited direct foreign investment in the Kingdom's manufacturing sector. Therefore, it is not unusual for the foreign partners to include exclusive raw material and component supply clauses in their contracts with the local partners. Naturally, even if such suppliers are perceived to be acting opportunistically, this is not likely to affect the customers' commitments to buying from them. Thus, as generally operationalized in the literature, opportunism may not have a universally dysfunctional effect on long-term business relationships as has been previously suggested. Rather its effect may depend on the norms of business relationships in the customers' dominant culture as well as the circumstances surrounding development of the relationship. Future research should consider examining the plausibility of this proposition. The few studies that have distinguished between relationship commitment and propensity to terminate a relationship (e.g., Anderson and Weitz, 1989 and Morgan and Hunt, 1994) have generally found a negative relationship between the two constructs. The present study confirms these previous results and provides additional support for the notion of a conceptual distinction between relationship commitment and propensity to terminate a relationship.