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Co‐operation is a defining characteristic of ongoing buyer‐seller relationships, yet selfishness lies at the heart of Darwinian models of evolution. Discussion of relationship marketing has paid insufficient attention to the analysis of reasons why individuals incur short‐term costs in order to gain an uncertain benefit from co‐operation in the future. This paper contributes to the development of theories of relationship marketing by exploring Darwinian game‐theoretic models as a basis for buyer‐seller relationships. Indiscriminate altruism by partners may at first seem to be co‐operative behaviour, but simulations have suggested that the long‐term effect may be to reduce co‐operation.
European Journal of Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2000
Keywords: Relationship marketing; Co‐operation; Operational research; Channel relationships
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