روابط تجاری بنگاه به بنگاه: تناقض ساختارهای شبکه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23702||2008||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6883 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), Volume 16, Issue 1, 2008, Pages 95–107
The marketing significance of consumer and business relationships was reclaimed in the 1990s when relationship marketing came into its own as a field of marketing inquiry. This article contributes to the current debate about the scope of relationship marketing and especially the meaning of network relationships. This question is discussed in a business to business context, using the network approach of the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) group as a lens. We critique three relationship ‘paradoxes’ (Håkansson and Ford, 2002) which appear to place limits on managerial action in networks. These paradoxes are considered from alternative viewpoints in order to attempt a resolution to the logical conundrum they present. We conclude that Håkansson and Ford's paradoxes indeed signal a range of constraints on managerial independence but the situation is far from paradoxical. We offer suggestions for cognitive mapping of relationships within the knowable network at the level of the firm and call for an ontological shift in understanding firm-level strategies in the network context.
Relationship marketing, in the sense of establishing and maintaining useful social and business contacts with customers and suppliers, is as old as trade itself. Yet the stabilising and sometimes disruptive impact of relationships on marketing performance was overlooked in the technology enabled mass marketing epoch which accompanied the post 2nd WW economic recovery. The renaissance in relationship thinking arguably began in the 1970s (see for example, Håkansson and Ostberg, 1975; Williamson, 1975). It took hold rather slowly at first, gaining managerial prominence as a ‘relationship marketing’ rubric for services (Berry, 1983) and as a way of making a distinction between transactional and relationship orientations in business markets (Jackson, 1985). In the 1980s, an emphasis on long term interactive relationships gathered support (see early “Nordic School” contributions from Grönroos, 1983; Gummesson, 1987) and the relational structure of channel intermediation between firms became evident (see seminal papers by US scholars Dwyer, Schurr and Oh, 1987; Anderson and Narus, 1990). Yet the significance of consumer and business relationships was still not recognized in major student marketing texts. In the 1990s, relationship marketing came into its own as a field of marketing inquiry. Some operational insights were absorbed into a broadening relationship marketing domain from total quality management (Oakland, 1989), managing service episodes from services marketing (Grönroos, 1990), and a new understanding of business interactions from the largely European-based Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) group (for example, Ford, 1990; Axelsson and Easton, 1992; Håkansson and Snehota, 1995). Among others, Webster (1992) and Berry (1995), also Sheth and Parvatiyar (1995) contributed influential articles that signalled the changing role of marketing world-wide. Also one-to-one focused relationship development opBusinessportunities were ‘rediscovered’ partly as a consequence of information and communication technology (ICT) discontinuities (Peppers and Rogers, 1993). And new strategic marketing frameworks were proposed for assessing stakeholder relationships at the level of the firm (see for example, Christopher, Payne and Ballantyne, 1991, 2002; Morgan and Hunt, 1994; Gummesson, 1999, 2002). At the start of a new millennium, two IMP researchers, Möller and Halinen (2000), categorised and analysed the historical source inputs of the burgeoning relationship marketing domain. They saw four such source groups, namely: business marketing, services marketing, marketing channels, and database marketing/direct marketing, each with their own agendas and contestable relationship perspectives. In other words, the unity of the relationship marketing conceptual domain was more rhetorical than real and key issues remained unresolved (Barnes, 1994; O’Malley and Tynan, 2000; Harker, 1999).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The three network constraints are highly pertinent to industrial marketing. They also in our view signal a range of management and control issues for discussion in the broader domain of marketing management. But do these constraints warrant the appellation of paradox? First, as Håkansson and Ford are among the influential foundation group of IMP scholars, their work is a pointer to current and future dilemmas in industrial and international marketing management. Second, their article attempts to develop a normative position on “how should companies interact ...?” from the body of the IMP literature. Developing a normative position seems likely to remain illusive if these paradoxes remain unchallenged and unresolved. Of course there is a rich body of empirical and conceptual IMP work on network dynamics but little commentary in the literature on the Håkansson and Ford paradoxes, with the notable exception of Freytag and Ritter (2005). Third, and more specifically, how do you escape from paradox, the equivalent in logic of a ‘black- hole? We have argued that there is really no paradox number one. It is simply a trade-off. Paradox number two also disappears when the flux of reciprocity of exchange is recognised as a normal relational occurrence. Paradox number three is more aptly termed an irony, as it is concerned with what we see as the unstable and dissembling attempts at control by actor firms within an ontologically unresolved business landscape known as network. We conclude that Håkansson and Ford’s paradoxes do indeed signal constraints to managerial control at the level of the firm. However, constraints viewed as paradoxes are in part a consequence of incomplete perspectives and research assumptions that ‘logically’ bring paradoxes into being. That said, the resilience of paradox number three suggests to us a state of systemic complexity that awaits further research and reinterpretation. Håkansson and Ford do hint at a systemic direction of enquiry for a possible change of world-view (2002, p. 138): Networks are built on variety, but despite this they do have systemic properties. This means that the answers to managers’ questions about their interactions will always depend on the specific situation and context. There are no neat solutions or standardised approaches to network success. This sober pronouncement suggests that there are no generalised business prescriptions to be dug up on stone tablets from the past or to emerge in the near future. And if industrial marketing networks were to be viewed as systemically connected, then the managerial logic of firm-level control would no longer be sustainable. Again, the proposition is that no single firm or its actors can presume to control network behaviour, unless perhaps hierarchically placed to do so and so legitimized by other network actors (in which case the control constraints are replaced by innovation constraints). Systemic complexity tells us that a network is other than the sum of the individual firms that make up its parts. You can’t dissect firms (as parts of networks) to achieve an understanding of networks (as a whole). In line with this logic, any business interaction leads to more than one possible response, so there are always a variety of unintended consequences, and the effects of these may amplify over time. In other words, business actions and reactions are not linear, mono-causal or exactly traceable back to their cause (Ballantyne, Christopherand Payne, 2003, p. 164). Ford and Håkansson (2006) argue in a recent article that because much of our academic mental models and paradigms are firm-centric, not network centric, our ability to conceive of firms in network contexts is curtailed. Furthermore, as discussed, the modern science of complex adaptive systems (CAS) suggests that any one interaction can affect any other interaction, so any relationship between a firm and a counterpart – even a single counterpart – will interfere with or influence other relationships. Again, no one person or firm can be absolutely in charge. Current rational planning methods and analytical logic deployed at the managerial level of the firm seems at this stage not able to capture complexity, except to find it paradoxical. At the academic level, buyer-seller dyads are still commonly studied without recognition of their network context (Wilkinson and Young, 2002b). Also, many marketing scholars persevere with one-sided relationship studies of convenience, seeing the relationship from the perspective of the seller and ignoring the customer perspective. And retail firms commonly attempt to “capture” and “segment” the customer within their CRM databases. The words we use give our managerial control intent away. Finally, marketing and its research orthodoxy is locked into an empirical/positivist mind-set at a time when more conceptual insight might be derived from autopoiesis (Maturana and Varela, 1980) or by treating business networks as if they were complex adaptive systems (Kauffman, 1995). Also, the range of legitimate research methodologies in marketing is in need of an update to match the broadening scientific world-view. There have already been calls for change in this direction by some IMP scholars (Easton, Wilkinson and Georgieva, 1997; Ritter, Wilkinson and Johnston, 2004; Wilkinson and Young, 2002b). This may be a sign of more to come. A methodological renaissance might dissolve the paradox of network constraints which have been the focus of attention in this article, and give legitimacy to the design of new cognitive tools for sensing firm level strategies in turbulent network conditions.