How functional, psychological and social relationship benefits influence individual and firm committment to the relationship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose - This paper aims to extend previous research investigating the effect of relationship benefits on firm outcomes by developing a model that includes the effect on individual employees in the buyer firm. The model also aims to address benefits beyond the functional in business-to business (B2B) settings by including psychological and social benefits.Design/methodology/approach - The study is based on a survey of 275 B2B buyers in Australian manufacturing firms.Findings - The findings reveal that functional benefits enhance firm-level commitment to the relationship, whereas psychological and social benefits affect individual commitment to the relationship directly and firm-level commitment indirectly, thereby emphasizing the importance of considering the individual as distinct from the firm. Given that the relationship is a process over time, and in recognition of the non-static nature of relationship benefits, the paper also explores the changes in benefits over relationship stages, including their impact on commitment. In contrast to expectations results show that while all three types of benefits increase, there is no change in the impact of all three benefit types on commitment across relationship stages.Practical implications - The study recognizes that the individual in the firm also benefits from B2B relationships and offers a measure of both firm and individual relationship benefits for use in future studies. The measure may also be used as a point of discussion about relationship management.Originality/value - The study is framed within social exchange theory and, is the first to simultaneously examine three types of relationship benefits and their interaction with both the individual and firm viewpoint. The study is also one of the first to empirically examine changes in relationships over the relationship stages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-488
JournalJournal of Business & Industrial Marketing
Volume22
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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