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HomeInsightsValue synergy and value asymmetry in relationship marketing programs

Value synergy and value asymmetry in relationship marketing programs

Abstract
Prior research advocates a positive, linear association between relationship investments and relationship performance. Our study challenges this conventional wisdom and advances the extant literature by investigating the potential curvilinear effects of suppliers’ different relationship marketing programs (i.e., social, financial, and structural) on dyadic perceptions of relationship value. From an analysis of 113 buyer-supplier dyads, we found that social programs enhance relationship value synergy, but their effect on relationship value asymmetry between suppliers and buyers follows a U-shaped curve. On the other hand, we observe a positive and increasing returns-to-scale effect of financial programs on relationship value synergy and its inverted U-shaped association with supplier’s relationship value asymmetry. Interestingly, structural programs increase relationship value synergy and have a stronger effect on increasing relationship value for the supplier than for the buyer. In addition, we find that structural programs are more effective in creating value in long-term relationships than in short-term relationships; therefore, as the relationship with a buying firm ages, managers should consider investing more in structural programs to develop their relationship. However, in long-term relationships, managers should avoid investing too much in financial programs because financial programs are less effective in increasing creation of relationship value as a relationship ages.

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