Relationship value and relationship quality

A. Eggert, W. ULAGA

European Journal of Marketing

2006, vol. 40, n°3/4, pp.311-327

Départements : Marketing

*BUSINESS*INDUSTRIAL procurement*MARKETING*RELATIONSHIP marketing*VALUELONGITUDINAL method Abstract: Purpose - Established models of buyer-seller relationships do not reflect managerial emphasis on supplier performance evaluation when modelling business relationships. Proposes that relationship value should be included as a key constituent in such models. Aims to explore the construct's links with key constituents of relationship quality, i.e. commitment, satisfaction, and trust. <br>Design/methodology/approach - A two-stage research design was used. First, depth-interviews were conducted with ten senior-level purchasing managers in US manufacturing companies. Second, data were gathered in a nation-wide mail survey among 400 purchasing professionals. <br>Findings - The findings suggest that relationship value is an antecedent to relationship quality and behavioural outcomes in the nomological network of relationship marketing. Value displays a stronger impact on satisfaction than on commitment and trust. Value also directly impacts a customer's intention to expand business with a supplier. In turn, its impact on the propensity to leave a relationship is mediated by relationship quality. Contrary to previous research, trust does not appear in this study as an antecedent of behavioral outcomes, but as a mediator of the satisfaction-commitment link. <br>Research limitations/implications - Confirms the role of value as a key relationship building-block. Researchers should integrate this cognitive performance-based construct in models of business relationships. Limitations and research directions refer to the sampling procedure, the need to include the supplier's value perceptions, the possibility of conducting longitudinal research, and the opportunity to assess additional moderating variables. <br>Practical implications - When the goal is to increase business with an existing customer, managers should focus on relationship value. In turn, when managers are concerned with the risk of customers leaving a relationship, they should focus on relationship quality. Trust