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Splitting Hairs: Notes On The Nature Of The Exchange Concept

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IMP
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  • Communication
  • Economics

Abstract

The concept of exchange has by many marketing theorists been stated to be the core issue in the background of the marketing research. The mainstream marketing theories have been largely based on the transactional, discrete, economic exchange the idea of which have come mainly from neoclassical economics. However, the marketing discipline has for a while been in a state of turmoil or a shift in basic orientation which has also brought forward some questions about the nature of exchange and the validity of the exchange concept within relationship oriented approaches to marketing. For example, many marketing scholars have stated that due to the shortterm notion of the exchange concept the widely used term exchange relationship is, in fact, contradictory in nature. Is, then, the exchange concept always contradictory with the concept of relationship? Is the exchange concept unfit for use when referring to long-term business relationships? Based on the review of the different definitions of the exchange concepts this paper suggests that the concept of exchange can also have long-term features. By long-term exchange is referred to interconnected exchange episodes of various types occurring in a context of long-term business relationship or nets of relationships. This kind of exchange can be described as an ongoing process where concrete exchange episodes are temporally interconnected and which actually form the theoretical abstraction or metaphor called 'long-term business relationship'.

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