Configuration theory assessment of business relationship strategies: conceptual model and hypothesis development
Authors: Zaefarian, Ghasem; Henneberg, Stephan C.
Source: Journal of Customer Behaviour, Volume 9, Number 3, Autumn 2010 , pp. 299-316(18)
Publisher: Westburn Publishers Ltd
Abstract:Whilst many researchers have investigated the nature of business relationships, few contributions have been made that explain how firms adopt and implement alternative relationship strategies in dealing with their counterparts. Building upon the notion that firms of superior performance have more coherent structural configurations than those of lower performance, this article provides a framework to develop an understanding of how a firm's performance is dependent upon both its approach to business relationship strategy and its business strategy type. Grounded in the concept of configuration theory, a profile deviation logic is proposed to assess the fit among business strategy, business relationship type and its implementation characteristics. Thus, the aim is to assess the congruence between relationship characteristics, business relationship type and business strategy as being the degree to which a firm's configuration of relationships differ from those of an “ideal” organisation in terms of achieving higher performance for a given strategy type. The article comprehensively reviews the literature on classifications of business strategy, different typologies of inter-firm relationships and characteristics of business relationship. It also looks at existing literature on configuration theory and the concept of fit, as well as alternative approaches to measure performance by configuration theory. Based on this review of the literature, a conceptual model is proposed and hypotheses are suggested.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: Autumn 2010