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Paper info: Relationship Atmosphere - The Final Chapter


Relationship Atmosphere - The Final Chapter


Catherine Sutton-Brady
University of Sydney
Catherine Sutton-Brady

Place of Publication

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


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This paper is a culmination of several years of research into the make up ofrelationship atmosphere. The study considering the complex nature of relationshipatmosphere and its role in supplier/customer relationships, has led to some interestingfindings.It is the intangible nature of atmosphere that poses problems in conceptualisation andmeasurement. Nonetheless, consensus of opinion would seem to exist on the keydimensions of atmosphere. This paper initially examines these dimensions ofrelationship atmosphere - trust, power, dependency, commitment, utilising sourcedata provided within the framework of the IMP2 project to carry out this research.It then builds on findings of previous studies by the author, which identified analternative way of viewing atmosphere in the interaction model, as a perception ofeach actor in the relationship (ie., a perceived atmosphere.). The perceptions ofatmosphere in supplier and customer relationships were then compared in eachrelationship. This led to the relationships being categorised, along the dimensions ofatmosphere. The three categories included were, firstly where the perception ofrelationship atmosphere matches and there is seen to be one relationship atmosphere.Secondly where there was partial mismatch and therefore some but not total overlapin the relationship atmosphere and finally where there was total mismatch and assuch no ?one? relationship atmosphere.This paper introduces the construct of relationship atmosphere, developed overtimeand highlights its utilisation in the comparison of the concept of atmosphere acrossrelationships. It is in essence the final chapter in the investigation of the mostcomplex phenomena to come from the IMP2 project.