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Paper info: The problem of matching in the SME sector - A focus on actor bonds


The problem of matching in the SME sector - A focus on actor bonds


Judy Zolkiewski
Manchester Business School
United Kingdom
Judy Zolkiewski ,
Noémi Piricz
College of Dunaújváros
Noémi Piricz and

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 25th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2009.


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Connectedness is considered as the essential characteristic of a business relationship. We assume that personal matching is one of the basic factors of fruitful cooperation that's why the purpose of this paper is to show the findings of other researchers in the field of relationship management then empirically investigate matching in business relationships.Although matching was included as part of structural fit in the initial interaction model (Hĺkansson, 1982) it has been relatively neglected as an aspect of business relationship research (Mandják, Zolkiewski and Piricz, 2007).  The interaction of personnel in a business relationship is often of critical importance, yet is often only considered in the of context faltering relationships (Halinen and Tähtinen, 2002).  The process of matching as part of interaction is also rarely explicitly considered, perhaps because of the difficult nature of unravelling the human face of relationships.  Although the importance of social bonds (Turnbull and Wilson, 1989) is widely accepted and the discussion of social capital in a business-to-business relationship context is becoming more and more extensive (Walker, Kogut and Shan, 1997), empirical data is lacking. Witkowski and Thibodeau (1999) note the importance of inter-personal relationships in international entrepreneurial development, but they too note that investigation of such relationships is often neglected.Data from a comparative set of international interviews (undertaken in SME-s in Hungary) is used to illustrate the process and role of matching in business relationships and to further develop the framework proposed in. Perceptions, mental models, sense making and value were used to conceptualise the matching between two organisations (Mandják, Zolkiewski and Piricz, 2007). This paper empirically investigates matching in business relationships among SME-s through qualitative research. Interviews focus on the four basic concepts and the interrelationship among them. We asked leaders and managers of small and medium sized enterprises to explain how they value their activities and their competitive advantages, what they think of their business relationships and how they decide on setting up or sustaining a business relationship. The first experiences confirm again the importance of personal contact in business relationships but this significance should not be overemphasized.