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Paper info: Using Judgmental Modelling to Assess the Meaning of Value: Differences in Dyadic Interpretations


Using Judgmental Modelling to Assess the Meaning of Value: Differences in Dyadic Interpretations


Christopher P. Holland and
Pete Naude
Manchester Business School
United Kingdom
Pete Naude

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 16th IMP-conference in Bath, U.K in 2000.



The notions of Relationships, Interaction and Networks lie at the very heart of the IMPbusiness model (Håkansson, 1982; Ford et al., 1998). The literature reveals a generalrecognition as to their importance and relevance in business-to-business markets. However,the assumption is usually made that long-term relationships, in which buyers and sellers havebeen interacting over many years, will be characterised by relatively close understanding ofeach others? needs and uncertainties (Ford, 1980). This paper seeks to explore thisassumption within the context of buyer-supplier relationships in the information technology(IT) industry.As has been argued before, developments in information technology are radically altering theway in which business-to-business marketing is and will be undertaken in the future (Naudéand Holland, 1996, 1998). But developments in IT are also forcing some of the major playersin the industry to rethink their whole marketing strategies, given that smaller and fastermachines are increasingly capable of undertaking tasks previously the exclusive domain ofthe large mainframe systems. More and more, buyer-seller relationships at the higher end ofthe market (i.e. mainframes such as IBM's System/390) are being put under stress as theattraction increases for buyers to migrate downwards to smaller but more powerful machinescapable of operating in increasingly flexible networks (such as UNIX, NT, and AS/400platforms).As argued by Wilson (see the introduction, above), the mutual recognition of just whatconstitutes value for both parties is core to the existence of successful relationships in this asin any other industry. This, in turn, requires the suppliers to understand the buyerssufficiently well to be able to deliver the core values that the latter seek in their businessoperation.In this paper we report upon a recent study into the higher-end mainframe market undertakenin the United Kingdom and in Holland. The study is based upon the views of 15 buyers of ITequipment in a diverse range of industries and application areas, and also on the views if 6sales staff working in a large international IT company. By using a judgmental modellingpackage (Islei and Lockett, 1988; Lockett and Islei, 1989), we are able to indicate the extentto which there is a very real, and measurable, misunderstanding in the views of the twoparties. This misunderstanding extends from the importance of the basic attributes uponwhich the value offering is based, through to the perception of the relative merits of thedifferent IT systems.