Relational marketing has enjoyed a rich literature stream since Dwyer, Schurr, Oh (1987) wrote one of the discipline's seminal articles. As reported by Gruen, Summers, and Acito (2000), most of the research studies on relationships in marketing have centered on relationships between members of a marketing channel (c.f., Brown, Lusch, and Nicholson 1995; Kumar, Scheer, and Steenkamp 1995; Morgan and Hunt 1994). In the relationship marketing literature, it appears as if most researchers assume that the relationship exists between organizations. Specifically, it is assumed that the relationship exists between the selling organization and the buying organization. For a positive relationship to develop between two entities, it is logical to assume that the relationship evolved due to a series of positive outcomes. Looking at relationship marketing from the buyer's perspective, the buyer must have experienced positive outcomes with some combination of the seller's product(s), the seller's boundary personnel (salesperson/people) or the selling organization as a whole. The question becomes “ to whom does the buyer attribute the positive outcomes. In addition, the buyer has two levels at which the relationship can lie, the individual buyer, or the entire buying organization. Therefore, the possible permutations of relationships in this scenario are:
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- Who Owns the Customer Relationship?
Kenneth A. Hunt
R. Edward Bashaw