PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the entrepreneurial practice of intellectual capital sharing (ICS) with client organizations and assess its potential for collaborative business-to-business (B2B) relationship building. B2B collaborations within the traditional marketing paradigm are restricted due to perceived opportunism.Design/methodology/approachThe research is based on the grounded theory approach and involves 22 semi-structured interviews with the employees of a focal organization and its five client organizations regarding 36 implemented projects. Interviews were transcribed, coded and analyzed via constant comparison to surface codes, categories, concepts and themes from which the authors developed propositions based on the particular context of this study.FindingsICS approach helps customers to reconstruct sellers’ identity from one characterized by opportunism and arm’s length relationships to one defined by openness and collaboration. Identified benefits of ICS include higher trust, commitment, social bonding, value co-creation, individual and organizational performance and learning. Eight propositions and a model of ICS consequences are presented.Research limitations/implicationsThe context of the study is limited to a single industry – financial services – however, the findings should be highly relevant for other sales contexts characterized by low buyer trust.Practical implicationsEntrepreneurial marketers can engage in ICS approach quickly at minimal cost, as the capabilities and talent are typically already internal to the organization.Originality/valueThis paper examines a unique relational approach to serving clients called ICS that de-emphasizes the sale. Subject matter experts help buyers overcome challenges outside the scope of the traditional marketing paradigm.
Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 10, 2017