Periodicity.: June - September 2014
e-ISSN......: 2236-269X
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Drivers of relationships affecting B2B firms in an e-commerce environment

Irene Samanta, Mike Danson


The advent of the internet has created numerous opportunities for B2B marketing professionals to enhance current marketing practices, including electronic relationships. However, the investigation of e-relationships and the factors that influence e-relationships in an internet environment is scant. Further, there appears to be no investigation of this phenomenon within the context of Greek B2B Medium-sized firms (MSF). Τhe research problem investigated in this research is: “Which drivers in B2B e-commerce use affect inter-firm relationships in medium-sized B2B firms?”. A framework for B2B e-commerce relationships in a changing and globalized environment was synthesised and integrated with the literature about relationship marketing to arrive at the following research issues: “How do relationship marketing drivers affect the management of B2B e-relationships?”.

An explanatory quantitative research approach was used and quantitative data was collected from B2B firms in Greece, which represents a case of e-commerce progress during the last six years. Regarding social exchange, some important differences emerge where cooperation between B2B e-commerce firms is concerned. Suppliers engaged in electronic commerce are more committed and oriented to a long-term relationship than buyers, based on both previous and current experience with them. Confidence in the relationships, consistency and honesty with their obligations and the exchange of reliable, trustworthy information and advisory services between firms are important factors in the development and establishment of their e-relationships.

The main contribution of this research is the development of a theoretical framework for e-relationships in medium-sized Β2Β firms. That framework is the first rigorously researched step towards understanding the importance of these powerful streams of relationship drivers in total, and the business activity of e-marketing and electronic relationships.


B2B relationships; trust; adaptation; commitment; e-commerce

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