Building B2B relationships via initiation contributors: Three cases from the Norwegian-South Korean international project business
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionIndustrial Marketing Management. 2018, 68 (1), 74-85. 10.1016/j.indmarman.2017.09.027
Initiation is still an unclear phase of B2B relationship development. Here, we build on existing theoretical knowledge derived from relationship development, project marketing and international business literature. We use this to analyze three cases of business relationship initiations between Norwegian and South Korean actors in the shipping industry. By piecing together theoretical and empirical insights, we develop a dynamic model of the relationship initiation process that highlights the role of initiation contributors in international project business. The developed model reveals that multiple entities— such as contacts, rituals and standards—serve as initiation contributors. These trigger or facilitate the focal dyadic relationship initiation, while also preparing future initiations in the focal context. Thus, our key contribution is to bring processual and contextual dimensions to business relationship initiation. Our research also suggests practical insights as to which actors and entities suppliers need to mobilize, in order to initiate new business relationships in international project business contexts.