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Title: International relationship marketing : an investigation of the stages of industrial inter-organisational relationships development with an examination of the influence of national culture
Author: Pressey, Andrew D.
Awarding Body: University of Luton
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2000
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The current literature indicates that research concerning the area of industrial interorganisational relationships (lORs) and relationship marketing (RM) in an international context is growing in size as well as importance, and is regarded by many as constituting a paradigmatic shift in contemporary marketing thought. The study of lORs, however, has suffered from empirical neglect, particularly in an international context. The extant literature is unclear concerning the development process of relationships. In particular, the antecedents of commitment in affectively committed relationships (positive attachment) and calculatively committed relationships (negative attachment) and their performance outcomes, the causes of dissolution in previously committed relationships and the impact national culture has on the process when it traverses national borders is not well understood. Therefore, the primary objectives of this study were to investigate the stages of the development process of international lORs, and to determine the level of influence national culture exerted on this process. Two stages of empirical research using a mixed methodology were conducted. The first stage of fieldwork -an exploratory case study approach -used seven in-depth interviews with UK. import/export executives in charge of relationship development within their respective companies. The first stage of fieldwork was used to examine the stages of international lOR development and the influence national culture exerts on it in order to develop a set of hypotheses for subsequent testing. Stage two -a mail survey approach was mailed to 3000 UK import/export executives and used data from 322 questionnaires to test a set of hypotheses developed from the first stage of fieldwork. The study had significant findings in three key areas. Firstly, the research identified that the antecedents of commitment in affectively and caculatively committed relationships differed significantly and furthermore, relationships based on affective commitment enjoyed relatively greater levels of performance outcomes in comparison to relationships based on calculative commitment. Secondly, the study identified the causes of dissolution in previously committed relationships in four categories: buyer factors, supplier factors, competitor factors, and environmental factors. The findings also indicated that relationship dissolution could be classified in three ways: full exit, partial exit and temporary exit, and that dissolution was influenced by the motive for commitment prior to dissolution. The period of time spent in dissolving relationships was often found to be lengthy and was influenced by five categories of factors that impede partners' speed of exit. Finally, the study applied the assumptions of Hofstede (1980; 1991) to examine the extent to which national culture affects relationship development when it crosses national borders. The findings revealed little concrete evidence to suggest that national culture has a strong influence on international business relationships. International business relationships were, however, susceptible to factors such as infrastructure barriers and political barriers that were obstacles to foreign market success. The thesis contributes to current knowledge by offering the first empirically supported model of lOR development from pre-formation to dissolution in the extant literature; principally, identifying the antecedents of effective and ineffective relationships and also the stages of dissolution when relationships dissolve. The national culture literature within the domain of Marketing, and in particular, the literature concerning lORs, is advanced by suggesting that Hofstede's (1980; 1991) cross-cultural assumptions may not impact significantly on international lORs in a manner prescribed by Hofstede. In order to achieve the primary research objectives a number of scales were operationalised including scales to measure the influence of national culture on lORs, and aspects of relationship development including a multi-dimensional scale to measure trust. The study offers a number of recommendations for practitioners, and presents a number of future research directions. These are principally, to identify the antecedents of calculative commitment (that are hitherto unknown), and incorporate variables that may legitimately act as antecedents of commitment not examined in this study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N550 International Marketing ; relationship marketing ; international marketing ; inter-organisational relationship development