Revisiting business relationship quality in subsistence marketplaces

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Industrial Marketing Management


Micro-entrepreneurs play a critical role in alleviating poverty in subsistence marketplaces through their business relationships with microfinance institutions. Despite the enormous importance of these relationships, a critical research question on the dimensions of business relationship quality and their overall effects on relationship outcomes remains unanswered. Thus, drawing on the relationship marketing, social exchange, and self-determination theories, this study answers the focal research question by conducting in-depth interviews (n = 30), thematic analysis, and a survey (n = 300) of micro-entrepreneurs in a subsistence marketplace. The findings show a third-order business relationship quality model with three second-order dimensions (i.e., business trust, business respect, and business reciprocity) and nine subdimensions. The findings confirm the impact of business relationship quality on business customer inspiration and business customer value examined in this marketplace. The findings also identify the mediating role of customer inspiration and both the moderating and quadratic roles of relationship quality on relationship outcomes. The predictive power of the business relationship quality model is validated through PLSpredict using a training sample (n = 270) and a holdout sample (n = 30).

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