University of Twente Student Theses


Improving a buyer's standing at its supplier: An investigation of relationship changing episodes

Tormöhlen, Franziska (2019) Improving a buyer's standing at its supplier: An investigation of relationship changing episodes.

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Abstract:In business-to-business relationships, buying firms increasingly compete for supply and access to the unique capabilities of suppliers. Due to heterogeneous markets, buying firms deploy diversified strategies to gain access to the suppliers’ resources, more particularly to become the customer of choice. Therefore, it is essential for buying companies to increase their attractiveness and ensure high supplier satisfaction. Previous research on buyer-supplier relationships identified various drivers of relationship success. However, research has not yet paid significant attention to specific actions taken which improve supplier relationships and eventually increase the likelihood of preferential supplier treatment. Towards this end, the Thesis explores the specific buyer-supplier interaction episodes which have improved their relationships. For this purpose, 43 buyers and sales employees of a variety of companies are interviewed and the episodes are analysed. For the analysis, the critical incident technique and artificial intelligence are used. The empirical findings suggest that there are two types of interaction episodes, those that are arising through external influences and those that are created with strategic intent. Furthermore, the episodes are distinguishable based on the relevance of commitment and communication in the episode. While the theoretically retrieved success drivers also shape the study’s findings, transparency, short-term loss acceptance and supportive initiatives are also significant stimulants of supplier relationship improvements. The findings further contribute to the buyer-supplier relationship context in such a way that the study demonstrates the boundaries of applying the critical incident technique and AI-based analysis tools to the underlying research context.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:International Business Administration BSc (50952)
Keywords:Buyer-supplier relationships, Interaction episodes, Critical incident technique, Relationship improvement, Relationship success drivers
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