Purpose – This paper aims to discuss business relationships drawing to an end, and the reasons why company managers should attempt to restore the relationship instead of terminating it. Design/methodology/approach – The study applies a qualitative method and in‐depth interviews with companies in the North Sea oil industry. Findings – The paper offers two contributions. First, it suggests an empirically grounded categorization of attenuating factors, i.e. the reasons to restore a relationship. Second, the categorization is extended to attenuating analysis, through which the value of the troubled relationship can be clarified. Thereafter, if the relationship is considered worth restoring, the managers may actively engage in restoring actions. Research limitations/implications – Because this study is limited to one business setting, future research applying the attenuating analysis to other industries by using action research is suggested. Practical implications – The study improves the awareness of inter‐organizational risk, enhances the manager's ability to assess the risk of losing a core relationship, and implements a method to reduce this risk. Troubled but valuable business relationships can be saved by applying the suggested attenuating analysis. Originality/value – To one's knowledge, this is the first study that both systematically identifies the reasons for not leaving a business partner, and provides a practical framework for restoring a relationship based on the attenuating factors.
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2006
Keywords: Channel relationships; Buyer‐seller relationships; Investors; Litigation; Strategic alliances
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