Trusting and Monitoring Business Partners Throughout the Relationship Life Cycle
Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, 20:119-138, 2013
Posted: 17 Nov 2015 Last revised: 19 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2013
Purpose: The goal of this research is to understand the theoretical and empirical confluence of multi-dimensional trust with the role of monitoring as business partnerships unfold and evolve dynamically throughout the course: of the relationship life cycle.
Methodology: A pilot study is run in which in-depth interviews are conducted with managers to glean their insights regarding the theoretical questions and to verify terminology for survey items. A large-scale: survey study is then conducted to test hypotheses about the relationships among the focal constructs. The participants in both studies are real procurement professionals reporting on their primary supplier relationships. The qualitative study and the samples of real world managers enhance the external validity of this research.
Findings: In early stages of business relationships, monitoring and benevolence trust interact to positively impact business performance. Continued monitoring in later stages interact with benevolence trust to performance detriment. Conversely, monitoring and competence aspects of trust hurt business performance in earlier life stages.
Research Implications: Theoretical frameworks that include the constructs of multidimensional trust, monitoring, and relationship life cycle stages can build on the nuanced 3-dimensional contingencies established in this research. In particular, this research furthers the concepts of monitoring and the relationship life cycle.
Practical Implications: There is a time and a place to trust one's business partners, and a time and a place to verify their trustworthiness. As business partnerships are forged, monitoring and benevolence trust can be particularly fruitful.
Contribution: In this research, the authors build on the business marketing literature that has begun to delineate the benevolence and competence dimensions of trust in business relationships; they demonstrate the role that partner monitoring has in maintaining business commitments; and establish how these effects are modified over the stages of the relationship life cycle; i.e., from exploration, to build-up, maturity, and decline.
Keywords: benevolence trust, competence trust, monitoring, relationship life cycle, industrial marketing, business marketing
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation