How resource inputs and atmosphere affect relationship performance
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Purpose of the paper and literature addressed Firms invest in relationships with their customers to make the relationships work effectively and efficiently as conduits for transmitting and integrating resources. This paper reports on a study that assesses how the expected level of input of resources by sellers such as manufacturers and distributors into buyer-seller relationships affects the extent to which they then get future access to the intangible resources in their buyers, such as retailers. The paper also investigates how relationship atmosphere, in terms of commitment and trust, affects the level of that access to the buyers’ resources. The theoretical grounding for the study derives largely from the IMP stream of research with some use of concepts from other frameworks such as the service-dominant logic (S-DL) of marketing, and the resource based view of the firm. Research method The paper tests two propositions: that a higher level of resource input into a relationship by a seller improves accessibility to its buyer’s intangible resources and that relationship atmosphere mediates this effect. The study collects data on seven-point scales from 314 sales and marketing managers in New Zealand manufacturers. The study then applies the structural equation modelling technique to the data to test its model. Research findings The analysis finds some support for the model. The mediated model has good fit statistics. However, only trust is a mediator of the relationship between the level of resource input into a relationship by a seller and the seller’s accessibility to its buyer’s intangible resources Main contribution The findings indicate that managers need to invest resources in relationships with their customers and develop sound atmosphere in terms of trust in order to gain good access to and value from the customers’ intangible resources. The findings are of value because resource inputs to and outputs from buyer-seller relationships are important considerations for researchers and managers and their effective management has strong impact on value creation.