An Empirical Study of Interaction in Business Relationships
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In this chapter, we present and discuss the results of an empirical field study of interaction in 32 business relationships and we use data collected before and after the customer-salespeople interaction episode. We report the results concerning two hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: Different customers attribute different identities to the same supplier; and Hypothesis 2: The identity attributed to a counterpart in a business relationship changes from interaction to interaction. We start with descriptive quantitative analysis testing Hypothesis 1 and then analyse the data concerning the change in the reciprocally attributed identities of both customers and supplier testing Hypothesis 2. Examining how perceptions of supplier quality (expressed by the customers), customer quality (expressed by the supplier agents) and mutual perceptions of the organisation’s personality differ and have changed, we find support for both hypotheses. We conclude by commenting on the inferences that can be made of the data analysis and reflecting on the methodology and limitations of the study.
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