Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Unpacking What a “Relationship” Means to Commercial Buyers: How the Relationship Metaphor Creates Tension and Obscures Experience

Contents:

Author Info

  • Christopher P. Blocker
  • Mark B. Houston
  • Daniel J. Flint
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Scholars apply the relationship metaphor as a default conceptual lens to understand commercial interactions. Yet whereas the relationship paradigm sheds light on how the socially embedded structure of these interactions impacts their outcomes, the relationship metaphor can also obscure scholarly understanding of business buyers’ experiences. Results of an interpretive study drawing on depth interviews demonstrate that buyers’ colloquial use of “relationship” language is ubiquitous. However, buyers’ narratives reveal instrumentally saturated emic meanings and felt tensions for the notion of expressive relationships with suppliers, which manifest deep conceptual friction with the constellation of etic relationship properties and constructs used by scholars to explain business interactions. Using Bauman’s sociological commentary on liquid modernity, analyses indicate that framing these interactions as “connections” is a more theoretically congruent lens for viewing buyers’ experiences. Implications for understanding buyers’ desire for relational bonds and recasting ironic “dark side” research findings offer challenges for relationship marketing research.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/660916
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/660916
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 886 - 908

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/660916

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/

    Related research

    Keywords:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/660916. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.