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Paper info: Relationship Value and Market Practices


Relationship Value and Market Practices


Daniela Corsaro

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 27th IMP-conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 2011.


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This paper is aimed at exploring how relationship value can be conceptualized in the context of market practices. Recent research on value has highlighted the importance of how actors‘ interpret and frame value, i.e. value representations. It is evident that value representations are pivotal for value creation processes in business relationships. Surprisingly, however, the two streams of literature remained unrelated; there is no research, neither theoretical nor empirical, which attempted to establish a connection among them. In a parallel stream of research debate around market practices- exchange, representational and normalizing practices - and their role in shaping markets, is growing rapidly. Eventhough, attention has been devoted more on the practices that contribute to create shared ideas of market, i.e. representational practices, rather than to representations in themselves.
In this paper we integrate the two streams of literature on relationship value and market practices in order to provide an explanation of value related processes in business network. Empirically we studied the case of the formation of a new actor, a distributor, in the ICT Security industry. In order to explore the different actors‘ value representations and the value practices involved in the formation of the new actor, we carried out 17 interviews with vendors, distributors, system integrators, resellers and final customers. We also attended a meeting where the two main actors involved in the project discussed the setting of the new distributor.
We find out that to explain value creation in networks both value practices and value representations should be jointly considered, due to mutual influences between them. It follows that market practices literature should take much more into account the role representations along with practices in the formation of markets and literature on value should better understand how actors‘ representations of value are linked to practices aimed at value creation.
Keywords: value, market practices, representations, actors, ICT Security.