Consumer - Firm Business Relationship and Network : The case of
Sammanfattning: Approximately 20 % of all air-travel tickets in Sweden are sold via the Internet despite consumer’s general perception of ticket prices being lower on the Internet when compared to those available in “traditional” stores. The general aim of this study is to generate a deeper understanding of what induces consumers to conduct their exchanges with firms on the Internet, and what induces most consumers to continue carrying out exchanges in “traditional” stores. Using a consumer – firm relationship and network perspective, this dissertation investigates the strength of a consumer – firm business relationship. The study contributes to both markets-as-networks tradition as well as to service/relationship marketing.Drawing on both open-ended interviews with business representatives and on survey material issued to 5000 consumers (1244 answers), the study examines the strength of a consumer – firm relationship. The focal consumer – firm relationship consists in this study of the two constructs “exchange” and “behaviour”. The impact of connected actors on the focal relationship is also a point of interest.This study concludes that consumers build a business relationship with a firm through continues interactions where impact from previous and future exchange episodes is of importance. These relationships develop, regardless of whether the relationship is with a firm on the Internet or in a “traditional” store. Another important conclusion is that a consumer can not have a business relationship with a firm prior to an exchange. It is through performing exchanges that consumers form behaviour patterns which lead to a consumer – firm relationship. Also of major interest is that consumers perceives that connected actors have the same impact on the focal business relationship, regardless if the relationship is with a firm on the Internet or in a “traditional” store.
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