The effect of buyer behaviors on preferred customer status and access to supplier technological innovation: An empirical study of supplier perceptions

Scott C. Ellis, John W. Henke, Thomas Kull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

Buying firms are increasingly looking to suppliers for technological innovations that enhance the competitive position of their new products. However, extant research provides limited guidance on how buying firms may gain access to suppliers' innovative technologies. To address this gap in the literature, we draw from social exchange theory to posit sequential relationships among buyer behaviors, preferred customer status, and supplier's willingness to share technological innovations. We test our assertions by applying structural equation modeling statistical analyses to survey response data from 233 sales personnel of production good suppliers in the U.S. automotive industry. Whereas our results show that two buyer behaviors - early supplier involvement and relational reliability - positively affect preferred customer status, a third behavior - share of sales - has no effect. In turn, we find that preferred customer status is positively associated with supplier's willingness to share new technology with the buyer. Further, our findings indicate that preferred customer status fully mediates the benefits exchanged within a buyer-supplier relationship. Hence, our study highlights why buyers seeking innovations should take care that their behavior is appropriate for managing suppliers' perceptions. Accordingly, our results provide specific guidance to buyers as to how they may increase their access to suppliers' new technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1259-1269
Number of pages11
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Volume41
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012

Keywords

  • Buyer-supplier relationship
  • Early supplier involvement
  • New product development
  • Preferred customer
  • Technological innovation access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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