Friendships in marketing: a taxonomy and future research directions
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The concept of friendship remains important from societal, academic, and practitioner perspectives. We find that there is a proliferation of research in the marketing discipline on the utilization and applicability of the concept of friendship, but the literature is fragmented. By fragmentation, we refer to the fact that the notion of friendship is tapped in multiple, independent research streams. As a result, there is a lack of an organized and holistic view of friendship-related research in the marketing domain. Drawing on an extensive literature review of 130 papers in more than 30 peer-reviewed scholarly journals across a 37-years time span (1980–2017), this paper synthesizes the extant friendship research in the domain of marketing through a taxonomy, which categorizes the different types of friendship conceptualizations based on two underlying characteristics, or dimensions, the formation of friendship, and consumption timeline. The proposed taxonomy shows the differences as well as the interrelationships between the different publications, giving a systematic view of the research landscape. We suggest future research avenues as well, for further research in the area of marketing-related friendships and highlight why the research is relevant from a real-world perspective.
KeywordsTaxonomy Friendships in marketing Personal friendships Contextual friendships Commercial friendships Business friendships
The authors sincerely thank the editor, Prof. Manjit Yadav, and three reviewers for their invaluable input and guidance during the review process. This article is based on the dissertation of the first author under the supervision of the last two authors. The first author is grateful for the help from Prof. Rebecca G. Adams, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Prof. Rajiv Kumar, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, who were members of his thesis advisory committee. This paper has benefitted from constructive comments from Prof. Somnath Lahiri, Prof., Prof. Abhijit Biswas, and Prof. Amna Kirmani on earlier versions of the article.
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