The Necessity of an Analysis of Flexibility in Buyer-Seller Relationships
During the past two decades, the analysis of buyer-seller relationships has become one of the key issues in marketing research.1 An examination of the relationship marketing literature indicates that a number of research strands have contributed to the study of buyer-seller relationships. Economic theories as well as behavioral approaches serve as a foundation of the analysis of buyer-seller relationships such as Transaction Cost Economics (TCE) (e.g. Williamson 1975; Williamson 1985), agency theory (e.g. Jensen and Meckling 1976; Fama 1980), relational contracting (e.g. Macneil 1978; Macneil 1980; Macneil 1981), the resource-dependence perspective (e.g. Pfeffer and Salancik 1978), the resource-based view (e.g. Prahalad and Hamel 1990; Morgan and Hunt 1999), as well as social-exchange theory (e.g. Thibaut and Kelley 1959; Emerson 1962; Blau 1964; Homans 1974).2 Moreover, special research groups have developed their own theoretical perspectives of buyer-seller relationships such as the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) Group which focuses on buyer-seller interaction and networks (e.g. Ford 1980; Håkansson 1982; Turnbull and Paliwoda 1986). Similarly, the Nordic school emphasizes buyer-seller interaction and services (e.g. Grönroos 1980; Grönroos 1983; Gummesson 1987).3
KeywordsTechnological Change Real Option Vertical Integration Austrian Economic Dynamic Market
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