Interaction and Identities in Business Relationships

  • Antonella La RoccaEmail author


In this chapter, we discuss the significance of the findings and implications of our study on the identities of actors in interaction in business relationships. We argue that identity of actors is an important input in interaction behaviours of actors and affects interaction outcomes. We argue that, at the same time, identities are formed in interaction between actors and thus are outcomes of interaction. These two considerations constitute the main thread of our study of interaction and actors’ identities in business relationships. Review of prior research and our empirical field study make us conclude that (1) the identity attributed to the counterpart changes from interaction to interaction and therefore is continuously emergent and only temporarily stabilized; and that (2) the identity perceived and attributed to an actor will be different in each of its relationships. Consequently, the identities of a business are always relationship specific and every business has multiple identities that are fluid and need to be continuously enacted in interactions. We conclude the chapter by discussing the implications of our findings for further research and practice. Among the implications for further research, we contemplate the need to develop a conceptual framework that permits to identify the critical dimension of the identity of actors in business relationships and how actor identities are related to actors’ roles. Reflecting on the implications for practice, we discuss the management challenge of coping with multiple transient identities.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rennes School of BusinessRennesFrance

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