Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Marketing

Major Professor

Rajiv P. Dant, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

James R. Stock, Ph.D.

Keywords

Trust, Commitment, Complacency, Vulnerability, Relational myopia

Abstract

A large number of empirical studies have illustrated the benefits of adopting and implementing a relational or relationship marketing strategy. However, there is an emergent stream of literature that suggests that despite the recognized benefits associated with this strategy there may also be a dark side that manifests itself between firms as a result of adopting a relationship marketing strategy. However, though this stream of literature recognizes the presence of the dark side, causal antecedents mediating the dark side constructs, or consequences of the dark side have yet to be theoretically derived, explained or empirically tested. This dissertation constructs theoretical relationships between common relational constructs, such as trust and commitment and dark side symptoms such as relational myopia, complacency, vulnerability and suspicion. This dissertation also examines how these dark side symptoms, upon their onset, can yield negative consequences for the firms that have adopted the relationship marketing strategy. Data from a diverse set of business to business (B2B) relationships (N=305) was gathered to test the structural model implicit in the theoretical propositions presented in this dissertation. The results support the hypothesized notion of a dark side to B2B relationships as the relational constructs of shared values, commitment, trust, and satisfaction were all found to have a positive, significant relationship with elements of the dark side. These results are discussed in detail within the chapters of this dissertation.

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