Negotiations in buyer-seller relationships
This research provides a basis for consideration of the nature of inter-personal interaction between buyers and sellers in a marketing context. It brings together the models of business relationship development and negotiations. Modem businesses recognise that some relationships are more profitable than others. As a result, the focus is now on retention of customers, greater openness and closer relationships between organisations and agreements leading towards more mutually beneficial outcomes between partners. This emphasises the strategic importance of inter-personal relationships and, specifically, negotiation behaviour. Indeed, negotiation in marketing is a core competence which is vital to ensuring the longevity of business relationships. Despite the recognition of this, there is very little research into negotiations in the context of relationship marketing. Existing models of negotiation present a range of approaches from the extremes of the highly adversarial and competitive to integration and solution-building between the parties. Outcome success increases in importance to the negotiating parties as relationships develop into partnerships, and resource investment increases. Interpersonal interaction is characterised by exchange of information across a broad range of issues specific to the dyadic relationship. The process and nature of exchange becomes increasingly integrative. One of the significant features of this work is that of its observation and exploration of real and substantive negotiations between buyers and sellers. In order to examine the nature of interactions, this thesis develops and tests a coding mechanism applicable to real-life negotiations, supported by interview and questionnaire instruments. Negotiations have been categorised into Early, Mid and Partner stages of relational development. The findings of analyses indicate distinct patterns of negotiator behaviour at different stages of relational development. This has implications for the development of marketing theory as well as the behavioural stances adopted by individuals engaging in negotiations. Findings can aid decision-making in developing business relationships and also provide a means of recognising individual negotiator competences. This leads to more effectively targeted preparation and planning for interactions as well as skills training and, ultimately, outcome success.