انتخاب شریک در بازار های خدمات اطلاعات B2B
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23765||2009||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10418 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Research in Marketing, Volume 26, Issue 1, March 2009, Pages 41–51
This study investigates the impact of selection criteria associated with interpersonal interaction (such as good personal relationships) on supplier consideration. More specifically, it examines how the importance of these criteria depends upon service-related dimensions. This is an experimental study among client firms in the market research industry, which combines a conjoint and between-subjects design to lead to several new insights. First, while good personal relationships play an important role in the selection of a service provider, their impact increases if the service offering is subjective in nature, but it decreases if it is strategically important. Second, enriching the service offering with interpretation and advice is more important for subjective as well as for strategically important service offerings. Third, as to other selection criteria, the study results show some interesting differences between consideration and choice. Price has a substantive impact on choice alone, while a strong brand name is helpful for the service provider only in the consideration stage.
Researchers in business-to-business (B2B) marketing have extensively studied relationship continuance and expansion issues (e.g., Ganesan, 1994, Moorman et al., 1993, Morgan and Hunt, 1994, Palmatier et al., 2007 and Sheng et al., 2006). This contrasts sharply with the paucity of empirical research on one of the core aspects of exchange: the selection of an exchange partner. Dwyer, Schurr, and Oh (1987) describe the initial stage of awareness of potential exchange partners and the subsequent selection practices. Insight into how such selection practices take place would benefit many B2B supplier firms. Despite descriptive models on the supplier choice processes in the early B2B literature (e.g., Choffray and Lilien, 1978 and Webster and Wind, 1972), empirical research on supplier consideration and choice is limited (for an exception, see Heide & Weiss, 1995). In particular, the selection of a B2B service provider is far from straightforward due to recurring challenges, such as the difficulty in evaluating providers and the value of their service offerings and the problems associated with implementing service solutions.1 This study focuses on the selection of information service providers (in particular, of market research agencies). The findings can be generalized to any industry where client-tailored information is the object of exchange (e.g., financial analysis, auditing services, legal assistance, consulting). We pursue three objectives. Our main objective is to better understand the role of two selection criteria associated with interpersonal interactions and that facilitate information transfer. On the one hand, a client's preexisting good relationships with individual employees of a provider firm is a form of ‘social capital’, which may influence the probability that the provider will be considered for a new service offering. Prior marketing studies concur that such personal attachments influence partner selection (Heide and Wathne, 2006, Heide and Weiss, 1995, Tenbrunsel et al., 1999 and Wathne et al., 2001). However, we know little about their precise role. Insight into the role of good personal relationships is valuable for both incumbent service providers wishing to maintain their existing clients and for newcomers wishing to land new clients.2 On the other hand, service providers in information service markets can deepen their client relationships by enriching the service offering with interpretation and advice. Such enrichment is associated with intensified interpersonal interaction in order to fine-tune the service offering to the client firm and improve information transfer. The criteria are distinct, as clients can share good personal relationships with market research agencies that provide research results with only minimal attention to interpretation and advice, while enriching service offerings with interpretation and advice often occurs in the absence of good personal relationships. Nonetheless, both facilitate information transfer, which is important in information service markets. Second, we examine whether the influence of good personal relationships and interpretation and advice in the selection of an information service provider is contingent on the service solution sought. On the one hand, studies on information transfer suggest that the nature of information determines the need for interpersonal interaction (e.g., DiMaggio and Louch, 1998 and Hansen, 1999). In particular, interpersonal interaction is a pre-condition for the effective transfer of subjective information. On the other hand, prior studies in (marketing) strategy explain that successful absorption of externally developed strategic information is crucial to firm performance (e.g., Levitt, 1986). We will argue that the objective/subjective nature and strategic/tactical importance of the service offering moderate the impact of good personal relationships and interpretation and advice. The study of the contingency effects of partner selection extends prior marketing literature where such effects have been largely ignored (e.g., Heide and Weiss, 1995, Wathne et al., 2001 and Wuyts et al., 2004). Third, we explore the differential impacts of these and other selection criteria (price, expert image, recommendations, brand name) on consideration versus choice. Consideration consists of screening and simplifying the decision environment for a given service (e.g., Roberts & Lattin, 1991). Choice consists of selecting the optimal service provider from the considered alternatives. Prior marketing literature is inconclusive regarding the different roles of selection criteria, such as price, in the consideration and choice stages in B2B markets (Dawes et al., 1992, Dorsch et al., 1998 and Levin and Jasper, 1995). We present an empirical test that combines a conjoint experiment with a between-subjects design, where respondents consider alternative market research agencies (within subjects) for service offerings that differ in their degrees of objectivity and strategic importance (between subjects). Several of our findings indicate that a nuanced view of the selection of B2B information service providers is warranted. Good personal relationships are more important for subjective services but less important for strategically important services. Interpretation and advice is more important for both subjective and strategically important services. Price and strong brand name have different effects on consideration versus choice.