To date, empirical and conceptual models of relationship marketing have focused almost exclusively on a range of direct antecedents and mediator variables to explain variations in a dependent variable – usually relationship commitment. No attempt has been made to examine under what conditions these various antecedents have a stronger/weaker impact on relationship commitment. This paper extends the relationship marketing literature by testing a contingency model to assess the impact of trust and service satisfaction on relationship commitment under conditions of varying switching costs, alternative attractiveness and experience‐based norms, in the context of a professional consumer service. Employing a sample of 201 clients of financial planning services, we test 11 hypotheses formulated on the basis of a review of the services and relationship marketing literature, and a series of qualitative interviews with clients. The results clearly indicate that the impact of trust and satisfaction vary according to contingency conditions of switching costs, attractiveness of alternatives and client experience.
International Journal of Service Industry Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2000
Keywords: Relationship marketing; Professional service firms
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