Expressive Oriented Relationships: a New Type of Commercial Friendships

This study examines a new class of commercial friendships that have not been addressed in the marketing literature. Using grounded theory, this study illuminates important theoretical differences underlying various types of relationships between consumers and firm representatives. The findings from this study demonstrate the importance of conceptualizing commercial friendships as multi-dimensional phenomena that are both determined and constrained by instrumental and expressive relational components. This study reveals that the nature of these relationships, at the time they are established, has a lasting and powerful impact on consumers. Identifying the underlying features of these friendships has important implications regarding how consumers perceive their relationships with firms and how they use them for consumption purposes. Additionally, explicating these relationships also reveals important ways firms might manage customers engaged in instrumental oriented and expressive oriented marketing relationships.


Bryan R. Johnson, William T. Ross, and Robin Coulter (2011) ,"Expressive Oriented Relationships: a New Type of Commercial Friendships", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 757-758.


Bryan R. Johnson, Creighton University, USA
William T. Ross, University of Connecticut, USA
Robin Coulter, University of Connecticut, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39 | 2011

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