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Paper info: Relationship, Atmosphere et alors

Title


Relationship, Atmosphere et alors

Authors


Gilles Roehrich and
Robert Spencer
EuroMed Marseille
France
Robert Spencer

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 16th IMP-conference in Bath, U.K in 2000.

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Abstract


The development of relationships between suppliers and customers is now commonlyacknowledged as being at the heart of marketing issues. These relationships, considered asveritable sites of investment by the marketing firm, evolve over time to condition the positionof the firm in its market. This evolution is characterised both by exchange processes betweenthe supplier and customer ?product, information, social etc.- and also by less tangibleelements intrinsically linked to the exchanges over time : the « atmosphere » of therelationship, previously discussed in the literature in its component parts oftenconceptualised under such terms as trust, cooperation/conflict, power/dependency etc. The« atmosphere » dimension of the relationship is considered as essential in both understandingand, ultimately, managing relationships effectively.This paper, the first one in a projected series, looks at some of the underlying conceptsrelative to relationship atmosphere, evaluating the validity of the atmosphere scale usingconfirmatory factor analysis techniques, thus attempting first of all to answer somepreliminary questions as to its real nature. To do so , it makes use of a data base comprisingcharacteristics of over a hundred international supplier-customer relationships across fivenational boundaries. The data base, the result of the IMP2 project performed in the 1990's,includes on the one hand a section of attitude statements relative to perceptions byrespondents ? both suppliers and customers - of relationship atmosphere, and on the otherhand sections investigating both the profiles of the supplier and customer firms in interaction,and the exchange processes between them.The paper then seeks to further analyse not just the essence of relationship atmosphere itself,but also to assess possible links between atmosphere structure and other relationshipdimensions and characteristics with a view to better understanding the rôle atmosphere playsin the development process. This paves the way for managerial implications.