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Paper info: Buying Business Services:Analyzing the service buyer - service provider interface


Buying Business Services:Analyzing the service buyer - service provider interface


Björn Axelsson
Stockholm School of Economics
Björn Axelsson ,
Finn Wynstra
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Finn Wynstra and
Wendy van der Valk
Technical University Eindhoven and Delft
Wendy van der Valk

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 21st IMP-conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2005.


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The acquisition of business services is becoming increasingly important for many organizations.However, buying business services has not been studied in much detail and the studies that havebeen conducted have either focused on one type of service or a specific stage of the purchasingprocess (i.e. supplier selection). This paper presents the partial results of a series of interview studiesinto the purchase of business services and the ongoing interactions following a purchase. The paperaddresses the interface between service buyers and service providers, more specifically the DecisionMaking Unit (buying centre). The paper investigates whether the Decision Making Unit varies fordifferent types of services across different types of companies. The results indicate that the DecisionMaking Unit for component services and consumption services differs; this difference is reasonablyconsistent across the companies studied. Furthermore, the ways in which the companies studied dealwith services and their providers is overall rather successful, which means that the interaction takingplace facilitates the exchange of the service and (further) development of the relationship. This wouldimply that different service purchases require different constitutions of the buying center in order tohave functional interaction between buyer and provider.