The perspective of marketing has changed from regarding marketing as a series of independent transactions to a dynamic process of establishing, maintaining and enhancing relationships. In an emerging theory of relationship marketing, both trust and satisfaction are core concepts in understanding the dynamics of how relationships evolve. Although the literature has thoroughly examined both trust and satisfaction, the interrelationship between them, including their consequences and antecedents, has not yet been addressed properly. We propose that the development of buyer‐seller relationships can be understood as a sequence of decisions buyers make regarding whether they should enter a relationship, continue a relationship, or enhance the scope of a relationship. These are different kinds of decisions where satisfaction and trust are likely to play different roles in risk reductions depending on the nature of the decision to be made. In a study of institutional buyers of a food producer we find that satisfaction and trust are complementary in the sense that trust is a key variable when decisions are related to enhancement in scope of the relationship, whereas satisfaction is a key variable when the issue is relationship continuity.
European Journal of Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 1998
Keywords: Buyer‐seller relationships; Customer loyalty; Customer satisfaction; Relationship marketing; Trust
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