ISBM Pulse: Interfirm relationships

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Relationship Governance Dynamics: The Roles of Partner Selection Efforts and Mutual Investments (Wathne et al.) (open access)

Reseller selection efforts are costly, time consuming, and are sometimes questioned as effective governance mechanisms. Nevertheless, reseller selection efforts are justified as they lower suppliers’ ex post transaction costs amd weaken the likelihood of resellers’ possible exploitation of supplier-reseller relationship in the case of supplier’s investments in the relationship, and promote value creation. Analyzing two waves of surveys in a B2B supplier-reseller context, the authors of this study insights on relationship governance dynamics of reseller selection efforts.

missing puzzle piece

Dynamic Governance Matching in Solution Development (Colm, Ordanini, and Bornemann)

B2B firms are increasingly shifting to offer service solutions as competitive and commoditization threats increase. However, much of these shifts to service-oriented offerings have generated mixed results. The authors investigate this problem as a governance problem and highlight that the different phases of solutions development (experimentation, integration, and evolution) expose actors to various governance tensions.

dark clouds

Partnering with Nonprofits to Confront a Crisis (Ballesteros and Gatignon)

The private sector cannot wait and see until the COVID-19 storm is over. They need to act, and be part of the solution. Helping out now may regain the trust that the private sector has lost recently, by demonstrating its ability of mobilizing resources, generating innovations, and scaling them up fast. However, in doing so, firms should consider the unique abilities of the nonprofit sector in times of disaster and crises.

extended hand

Applications of Agency Theory in B2B Marketing: Review and Future Directions

Agency theory has proved to be useful as a theoretical and empirical lens for examining a wide range of issues in business to business markets. This chapter attempts to explore the current and potential (future) applications of agency theory in business markets. First, the chapter explains the major constructs embedded in agency theory, the assumptions underlying the theoretical structure, and the classes of problems to which this structure is inherently well suited. Next, the key characteristics of business to business marketing are discussed, as well as the demands that these characteristics impose on incumbent theories which seek to shed light on business markets. Following, the the range of issues in business markets to which agency theory might be productively applied is outlined, along with modifications/extensions required to accommodate unique features of these markets. Finally, emerging areas of interest are reviewed, identifying promising areas for future research.

a hand signing a business contract

Progress and Prospects for Governance Value Analysis in Marketing: When Porter meets Williamson

This chapter provides an analysis of how the Governance Value Analysis (GVA) framework offers a better understanding of how the design and management of cooperative inter-firm relationships (with suppliers, channel partners, and customers) is integrally tied to strategic marketing decisions. The fundamental links between a firms’ positioning choice and its inimitable resource profile with the attributes and governance design choices in the relationship, and their links to both value creating and claiming, are elaborated on. Implications for future research and applications in a wide variety of strategic marketing decisions including branding, design of pricing contracts, product-form choice (vertical positioning), and bundling are discussed. 

colorful pawns connected by a network

Network Governance

This chapter provides an overview of various network governance mechanisms in business markets, by discussing the control and coordination benefits as well as the constraints that result from firms and dyads being embedded in social networks. First, network control mechanisms are discussed that help firms monitor and steer the behaviors of their exchange partners. Second, the chapter covers how social networks can stimulate positive behavior and help align different parties for the sake of mutual gain. Third, a dark side of social networks is discussed.

hand holding a green plant

Evolution of Buyer–Seller Relationships

The importance of understanding how interorganizational buyer–seller relationships are created, persist, sometimes destroyed and occasionally re-established has been raised in multiple contexts. For many reasons, continuity is a focal construct of interest in business marketing contexts. To date empirical research on buyer–seller relationships in business markets has largely concentrated on studying the status of an existing relationship, though, typically through cross-sectional investigations. Compared with longitudinal investigations, cross-sectional approaches have advantages, such as more cost effective data collection efforts. Many aspects of buyer–seller relationships in business markets evolve only slowly over time, in which cases cross-sectional studies are an acceptable approach. Considerably less attention has been devoted to the longitudinal aspects of relationships, though, so the objective of this chapter is to synthesize existing empirical research that examines the longitudinal aspects of buyer–seller relationships, with an eye to understanding how they form, evolve over time and sometimes break down.

handshake

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing (RM), in both business practice and academic research, has received ever increasing attention. This chapter provides a framework for understanding relationship marketing. It provides a review of the mechanisms that underlie the relationship process. Next, it highlights the importance of analyzing the multiple dyadic ties between firms at an aggregate level to appreciate the complementary nature of various types of relationships and their impact on performance. Furthermore, the chapter offers insights into the various drivers of inter-firm relationships and connect these relationships to previously measured performance-related outcomes. Following, the moderators that leverage the effectiveness of relationships are discussed. As a conclusion directions for additional research are suggested.

child hand in a parent's hand

Trust, Distrust and Confidence in B2B Relationships

Trust is central in B2B relationships. It increases the ‘ability to adapt to unforeseen problems in ways that are difficult to achieve through arm’s-length ties’ (Uzzi 1996, p. 678) and is the foundation for greater commitment and performance. Meta-analysis reveals that the ‘effect of trust on satisfaction and long-term orientation is even substantially larger than the direct effect of economic outcomes’ (Geyskens et al. 1998, p. 242). However, ‘while the effects of trust on attitudes and perceptions have been . . . fairly consistent and positive, its effects on behavior and performance’ have been weaker (Langfred 2004, p. 385). Although trust has been theorized to improve performance, its actual effect is questionable (Atuahene-Gima and Li 2002; Gundlach and Cannon 2010). Why does trust not consistently generate more favorable performance? Is this due to confusion about what trust is?