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Title: Relationship marketing in commodity chemicals : an empirical examination of a relationship marketing framework and the development of an instrument for the measurement of relationship marketing orientation (REMARKOR) within the commodity sector of the UK
Author: Clarkson, Richard M.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3558 5617
Awarding Body: University of Huddersfield
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 1998
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Commodity markets are characterised by declining growth rates, depressed prices, intensified competition and the evolution of standard and fixed specifications. These lead to an increasingly severe squeeze on profits. The commodity sector of the chemical industry is no exception to this, it is notorious for its fiercely competitive nature and its increasingly severe squeeze on profit margins. Past research suggests that companies will compete primarily on price (Wei et a1. 1979, Emerson 1983, Stobaugh 1988, Quintella 1993, and Black 1994), with relatively little technical service required. However, as the commodity sector of the chemical industry continues to see its margins squeezed, companies are finding that the ability to constantly reduce production costs is limited and no longer offers a total solution. The research examined how a relationship marketing approach could contributed to UK commodity chemical companies' competitiveness. However, the current literature on relationship marketing has not referred specifically to commodities and arguably leaves a gap in this research area. It has been suggested that relationship marketing is not a 'universal panacea' with several authors that believe there are situations, usually involving lowinvolvement or commodity products, when a swift and simple transactional approach is more appropriate and preferred by the 'customer compared to a relational approach (Gronroos 1990; Mattyssens and Van den Bulte 1994; Peck 1996). The research shows this is generally not the case in commodity chemicals. The research investigated, through a multi-method research approach using both case studies and a survey, the relevance and use of a relationship marketing approach in commodity chemicals. The research developed, from a convergence of current ideas and theories, a relationship marketing framework that shows a firm's culture (based on seven marketing arrangements constructs) for establishing, developing, maintaining relationships and the selective termination of relationships with multiple exchange partners (i.e. customers, supplier, communities, authorities). The seven 'marketing arrangements' constructs are: the role of marketing management and planning; multiple exchange partners; responsibility; long-term focus; interaction; management orientation and portfolio planning; trust, commitment and promises. The research provides evidence, from three case studies, that supports the framework's constructs within UK commodity chemical companies across customer, supplier, internal and external relationships. Regression analysis of the survey data shows a positive link between a relationship marketing approach and the business performance of UK commodity chemical companies. The basis of this analysis used REMARKOR, an instrument for measuring relationship marketing orientation developed for this research. It follows a similar procedure to MARKOR, an instrument for measuring marketing orientation, developed by Kohli et al's (1993). However, REMARKOR uses constructs examined in the cases studies, based on current relationship marketing literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business strategy; International trade