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Why Do Some Companies Not Engage In Partnering Relationships ?

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  • Communication
  • Design


Interfirm marketing relationships are becoming increasingly popular. Marketers are interested in retaining profitable customers and to some extent in involving these customers into the company's design, development, sales and marketing processes so as to facilitate their future marketing efforts. Also the purchasing literature advocates the positive effect from the formation of close relationships with selected suppliers. Although the literature demonstrates positive effects for both suppliers and buyers by engaging in close relationships, partnerships or similar arrangements, academics are now beginning to question if relationships always bring benefits to the relational parties. Furthermore, practitioners also report reluctance from their customers and suppliers in engaging in partnering relationships. Since they invest considerable resources towards establishing, managing and governing partnering relationships with customers and other alliance partners, it is worthwhile questioning why some companies do not want to engage in such arrangements. We conducted a qualitative study among five industrial suppliers in various industries and two selected customers of each supplier, either engaged in partnering relationships or customers with whom the suppliers wanted to partner. The study revealed seven factors explaining why companies either would resist or not engage in partnering relationships. The factors were fear of dependency, supply of standardized products and services, lack of added value beyond market-based buyer seller relationships, lack of innovation and reinforcement, lack of strategic fit between the exchange parties, lack of relationalism in company policy, and pace of technological change within the industry. Even if some of the factors may be interrelated, they can be attributed to qualities with the relationship itself, specific characteristics of the core product or service exchanged, perceived outcomes of a relationship, characteristics of the exchange parties, company policy, and industry-specific factors outside the relationship.

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