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Loyalty in business-to-business service context: literature review and a proposed framework

Bardauskaite, Indre (2012) Loyalty in business-to-business service context: literature review and a proposed framework.

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Abstract:Introduction. Loyalty has been named as one of the greatest competitive advantages for companies operating under high competition conditions. However, no clear path to loyalty has been found in the literature: different authors look at this concept from different views and take different factors into account. This paper consolidates academic research on loyalty in business services. Research Question. In order to understand the loyalty concept better, the following research questions were aimed to be answered by this paper – in business services, what are the factors determining customer loyalty; what is the influence of culture; and how does customer loyalty develop from a customer’s point of view? Methods. A method of literature review was adopted for this study. The structure of a systematic literature review was followed. For the practical validation of the framework, interviews were conducted with four managers, representing different business services. Results. The determinants of loyalty were identified and grouped into antecedents and mediators of loyalty. The determinants consisted of dependence, customer value, opportunism, service quality, customer focus, media richness, reputation, seller’s expertise, communication, conflict, past usage, relationship benefits, relationship investments and similarity. In addition, the following mediators were identified: trust, satisfaction, commitment, relationship quality, attitudinal loyalty, customer perceived value, service quality, collaboration, long-term relationship and flexibility. Furthermore, the trend in the representation of loyalty development seemed to be in line with the cognition-affect-behavior paradigm. However, a number of inconsistencies in the conceptualization of loyalty regarding the dimensions adopted and related to the determinants of loyalty have been identified and presented as well. None of the articles examined the influence of culture on loyalty development. Synthesis. The findings in the results‘ part were further integrated together with the relationship development process (represented by the stage model of Ford et al. (2003)) and the possible influence of culture into the resulting research framework. It suggests that relationship quality, comprising of trust, satisfaction and commitment, is a mediator of loyalty development process. Furthermore, it suggests that these mediators, determining the transition from one stage to the other, are influenced by different antecedents. Conclusions. Research on loyalty in business services is still in its infancy. Therefore, findings of this study should be treated as the base for further research and inquiry rather than the end-point in the discussion.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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