A Social Perception View of Business Relationships in the Service Sector

Joachim Vosgerau, INSEAD
Erin Anderson, INSEAD
William T. Ross, Jr., Pennsylvania State University
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - Current theories of business relationshipsBfor example the buyer-seller relationship model (Dwyer, Schurr, and Oh 1987)Bcharacterize these relationships in terms of characteristics such as trust, commitment, mutuality, flexibility, information exchange etc. Differences in these characteristics within a dyad, for example two parties being unequally committed to the relationship, are then thought of as providing the basis for opportunism, power differences, and the incentive to employ safeguarding mechanisms. It is implicitly assumed that even though parties do not necessarily display the same levels of relational characteristics, they know the true level of relational characteristics of the counterpart. In other words, the parties involved are accurate in their perception of the other party’s level of commitment, trust, information exchange, etc. But is this assumption justified? Social psychology has produced powerful demonstrations of how inaccurate people are in their perceptions, leading to poor forecasting of the behavior of others.
[ to cite ]:
Joachim Vosgerau, Erin Anderson, and William T. Ross, Jr. (2004) ,"A Social Perception View of Business Relationships in the Service Sector", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 31, eds. Barbara E. Kahn and Mary Frances Luce, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 200-201.