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Paper info: Conflict management and exit strategies in buyer-relationships in foreign markets : a case study of an Australian citrus fruit exporter

Title


Conflict management and exit strategies in buyer-relationships in foreign markets : a case study of an Australian citrus fruit exporter

Authors


Susan Freeman

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 17th IMP-conference in Oslo, Norway in 2001.

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Abstract


1This study will examine the conflict and dissolution strategies of interorganizationalbuyer-relationships. Prior to the discussion on more detailed objectives, the backgroundof the study will be presented. This background will examine the complexity of buyersellerrelationships for firms dealing with different cultures and the impact that this mayhave for managing conflict and tension in relationships, as well as the dissolution ofrelationships. A number of past (historical factors) and present (current sales and futureprospects in the particular market) aspects were identified as critical in assessing theimportance of relationships to a firm. Five factors emerged from discussions concerningconflict management and exit strategies in buyer-seller relationships, summarized in theconclusion.The paper is presented in four stages. First, relationship development, management anddissolution are discussed, indicating the importance of communication strategies in thisprocess. Second, an introduction to communication strategies available to the firm tomanage buyer-seller interaction is presented, which focuses on combining Hirschman's(1975) exit and voice strategy with Baxter's (1985) and Alajoutsijarvi et al (2000)research on a typology of dissolution communication strategies. Third, an empiricalinvestigation is conducted, using a case study method. Two buyer-seller relationshipsundergoing conflict and tension and the communication strategies used by both actors inthe relationship are selected. Interviews with senior management revealed that cultureplays a large part in the management style of relationships. Fourth, confirmation of thetypes of communication strategies used with evidence received from the detailed casestudy is provided. By understanding the importance of each market and region to theoverall operations of the firm, as well as the cultural norms operating in these tworegions, an analysis of the conflict situation and strategies for revocable or irrevocableexit strategies can be understood. Managerial implications and directions for furtherresearch concludes this study.