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Enhancing relationship value between manufacturers and distributors through personal interaction: Evidence from Vietnam

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Purpose ‐ Realizing the importance of personal interaction in business relationships between manufacturers and distributors, this study aims to explore the role of personal interaction in relationship value, and subsequently in distributor performance, in a transition market, Vietnam. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A sample of 472 distributors in the south of Vietnam was surveyed to test the theoretical model. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data. Findings ‐ It was found that personal interaction drives product support, information support, and delivery performance perceived by distributors. In addition, product support, information support, and delivery performance are key factors that nurture the value of relationships between manufacturers and distributors. Finally, relationship value is a determinant of distributor performance. Research limitations/implications ‐ A key limitation of this study is the heavy reliance on the hypothetico-deductive approach. Business relationships of firms in transitional economies, due to differences in cultures and economies, might exhibit some differences in value drivers. An inductive approach may be a suitable alternative method to explore relationship value and its determinants in transition economies like Vietnam. Practical implications ‐ The results of this study suggest that manufacturers should invest more time and efforts in personal interaction with their key distributors to enhance the value of their relationships with those distributors. Originality/value ‐ This study is the first of its kind in Vietnam, which explores the role of personal interaction in relationship value in Vietnam.
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Keywords: Business analysis; Channel relationships; Customer relations; Developing countries; Social interaction; Vietnam

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 12 April 2011

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