Uncovering the dark sides of long-term marketing relationship

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Uncovering the dark sides of long-term marketing relationship

 

Author: Law, Chui-chui Monica
Title: Uncovering the dark sides of long-term marketing relationship
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2005
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Relationship marketing -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies.
Insurance -- China -- Hong Kong -- Marketing.
Department: Dept. of Management and Marketing
Pages: xii, 287 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1835511
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2036
Abstract: The philosophy of relationship marketing has grown in popularity, partially from the belief that relationship approaches reap benefits for marketers. However, many studies have shown that not all relational initiatives produce the anticipated results. This research aims at explaining this phenomenon by investigating that a relationship with a customer may be negative effected after a period of time and that certain dark side constructs may take significant roles in an established relationship. This research extends the study of Grayson and Ambler (1999) and integrates with other studies to examine the long-term relationships between clients and agents in the insurance industry in Hong Kong. The research problem for this research, therefore, is: How do the dark sides of an established relationship affect the long-term relationship outcomes? To address the research problem, a review of the literature was first undertaken. Many studies of relationship marketing have focused on ways to develop long-term relationships and the positive outcomes of long-term relationships. Indeed, in order to be successful in implementing relationship programs, different strategies are required in accordance with various stages of relationship development. In this study, the key point is that the nature of relationship may change after the post-establishment stage. Therefore, service providers should pay attention to the impact of dark side constructs that may affect the long-term relationship outcomes. In this research, a two - stage methodological approach was adopted. The first stage was qualitative research, which involved ten convergent interviews with respondents from the sides of service providers and customers. The findings of the interviews further strengthened the theoretical framework used in this study. Based on the established theoretical framework, the three research issues pertaining to the research problem were: (1) How can a long-term relationship be maintained? (2) How does trust lead to relationship suppressors in an established relationship? (3) How do relationship suppressors relate to the positive long-term relationship outcomes? The second stage of quantitative research involved a mass survey to a group of individual insurance customers. After collection of the questionnaires, a data analysis comprised of two techniques was performed. The first one was exploratory factor analysis that served as a data reduction technique and a reliability assessment. The second technique was confirmatory factor analysis where a two-step modeling procedure was adopted in order to evaluate the measurement models and the structural models. Three major findings were obtained. Firstly, in order to maintain long-term relationship, the construct of trust, which was examined in the dimensions of credibility and benevolence, was the key factor in the whole process. Secondly, credibility and benevolence were negatively related to the dark side constructs-rising expectations, loss of objectivity and opportunism suspicion. Therefore, should the level of trust be diminished, the impacts of dark side constructs were dominant. Thirdly, the dark side constructs affected the relationship outcomes- retention, repeat business and referral. Overall, the finding of this research illustrated that trust was negatively related to the dark sides of an established relationship and the dark sides were also negatively affected the long-term relationship outcomes. The findings have implications for both theory and practice. Academically, this research has extended the extant literatures to the investigations of relationship constructs in relationship marketing, to the examinations of consumer professional services with the dark side constructs and to the study of customer relationship management. On the side of practitioners, this study turns the focus of service providers to changes in organizational goals, customer-managed relationships strategies, training of trust-building strategies, examination of negative relationship development, performance measurement, service design and support systems. Amongst different stages in relationship development, keeping customers in the post-establishment stage is a challengeable task to service providers.

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