Exploring the role of relationship management and relationship quality in B2B: empirical insights and future research directions

Publication Name

Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing


Purpose: In the past few decades, relationship management (RM) theory and RM strategies in business-to-business (B2B) contexts have evolved tremendously, driven by constant innovation. Hence, the purpose of this study is to understand the trends and evolution of RM and relationship quality (RQ) in B2B contexts and empirical insights on RM and RQ in B2B, which in turn would provide insights into trends and future research directions. Design/methodology/approach: Grounded on the industrial marketing and purchasing group, this study adopts a critical systematic literature review to provide a comprehensive analysis of the past, current and future trends in empirical research insights of RM and RQ in B2B markets. Findings: This study provides some novel insights into RM in B2B context by using a multidimensional approach to RM and RQ and analyzing prior marketing research from three perspectives: the evolution of RM and RQ in B2B context; prior empirical research; and practical business insights. Overall, these perspectives inform the development of an evolving side of RQ in B2B contexts, leading to some predictions regarding the future of RM in B2B markets. Practical implications: The exploratory results of this study shed light on the key factors that drive RQ and the importance of RM in B2B markets in the digital age where customers still long for human interaction regardless of the prevalence of advanced technology. Originality/value: In the wake of advanced technologies and particularly, B2B companies had to turn to virtual platforms and embrace digital transformation to establish and manage their customer relationships. Yet, managing relationships via digital channels has its own challenges for both B2B practitioners and scholars. This indicates that there is still a huge need for attuned RM strategies that align with the changing environments – mainly driven by technological advancement – in B2B markets.

Open Access Status

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