develop a viable digital strategy and an approach to refine the digital strategy periodically.

Table 2: Empirical insights on RM in B2B

Key Constructs Theory Sample Key findings Source
B2B RQ, drivers and dimensions 


Influence of trust and relational embeddedness TAM Model, Trust theory The survey sampling frame included 284 buyers and sellers
  • Perceived ease of use will influence perceived usefulness of e-marketplaces
  • Trust and relationshal  embeddedness impact the  relationship performance
Chien et al. (2012)
Influence of affective and security-based trust Surveys with purchasing managers of enterprises in various B2B sectors 

(included qualitative and quantitative surveys.

  • The results indicate satisfactory psychometric properties of the new Affective Trust Scale (ATS).
  • It demonstrates the scale’s measurement invariance across business sectors. The research confirms the importance of affective aspects of trust and supports the reliability and validity of the measure.
  • Nomological validity assessment of the scale shows that sentiment of security-based trust impacts investment in business relationships.
Akrout, Diallo, Akrout, and Chandon (2016).
Trust, satisfaction and commitment influence in maintaining a long-term relationship (intention to stay) 


Gestalt theory The survey sample of 238 firms in the financial services industry.
  • This study provides empirical support for the amalgamation of well-established individual dimensions (trust, satisfaction and commitment) into broader, more holistic dimensions as drivers of long-term relationship building.
  • B2B banking clients participating in this study appeared to regroup individual dimensions, in a heuristic fashion, to form new dimensions that influenced their attitude towards staying in a B2B relationship and it depends on Exchange partners for the success of the relationship

Terblanche, and Boshoff (2013)



Relationship performance Dimensions (RELPERF) Survey sample of 

approximately 400 purchasing managers operating in a B2B e-marketplace.

  • Relationship performance is a high-order concept, composed of several distinct, yet related, dimensions: (1) relationship policies and practices, (2) relationship commitment; (3) trust in the relationship, (4) mutual cooperation; and (5) relationship satisfaction.
  • Findings reveal that the B2B-RELPERF scale relates positively and significantly with customer loyalty.

Lancastre and Lages (2008)

The effect of RQ and switching costs on business customer loyalty Survey sample consists of 151 hotel managers from 1 to 5-star hotels in Peninsular Malaysia.
  • This study supports the importance of RQ in increasing customer loyalty.
  • Overall, to maintain customer loyalty to the service provider, it is recommended that a service provider enhance all three aspects of RQ which are trust, commitment, and satisfaction.
Abdul-Rahman and Kamarulzama (2012)
Impact of trust and commitment on customer intention 


Survey sample consists of 280 firms in Athens.
  • The more the client trusts the service provider, the more affectively committed to the provider the customer becomes.
  • The greater the customer’s affective commitment in the relationship, the more the customer will be inclined to remain in the relationship.
  • The higher the perceived quality of the service offered by the service provider, the more the client will trust the provider.
Gounaris (2012)
Resource dependence, trust and relationship commitment The survey sample includes 851 raw material and spare parts suppliers for the Taiwanese motor industry.
  • Resource dependence, trust, and relationship commitment are positively related to the continuity of the cooperative electronic relationship.
  • Communication has a positive impact on trust which in turn has an impact on relationship performance
Yeh (2005)
Relationship building dimensions in B2B Survey data of 269 firms in Egypt.
  • The study shows that reliability/ fulfilment and non-deception are the most effective relationship-building dimensions.
  • In B2B, RQ has a positive effect on buyer repurchase intentions and loyalty.
Agag (2019)
Cooperation, adaptation, and atmosphere (International/Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group) 


IMP interaction model The survey sample includes 98 senior government engineers.
  • RQ, defined as a higher-order construct of cooperation, adaptation, and atmosphere, has a positive impact on service quality.
  • Four groups of variables were identified that describe and influence the interaction between buyers and sellers.
Woo and Knew (2003) 




Interaction and benevolence as RQ drivers 





RM theory The survey sample included 324 respondents who use professional service firms.
  • Interaction, and benevolence are positive drivers of RQ. Relationship value mediates the relationship between RQ, loyalty, and willingness-to-pay premium price.
  • The mediating role of relationship value is only significant in high-risk situations.
  • The mediating role of relationship value on loyalty is significant regardless of relationship duration.
Casidy and Nyadzayo (2019) 


Co-creation and Integrity as an antecedent of trust in B2B The survey sample included 455 directors, managers or other decision-makers within B2B industries 

at both small business and large enterprise-level in the UK.

  • Co-creation is identified as an important antecedent of trust in B2B relationships.
  • The two most important antecedents of trust in a B2B relationship are co-creation and integrity.
  • Buyer business experience moderates the relationship between co-creation and trust.
Franklin and Marshall (2019).
Communication and satisfaction Media richness 

theory, Dennis media synchronicity theory

The survey sample of 328 respondents drawn from firms in commercial printing and graphic 

design industry.

  • The study indicates that personal communication has a stronger positive association than digital communication with dyadic contact (buyer and supplier contacts), social interaction, and reciprocal feedback, but a weaker positive association than digital with rationality.
  • Digital communication has a stronger positive association than impersonal communication with dyadic contact,

rationality, and reciprocal feedback, but a weaker positive association than impersonal with social interaction.

Murphy and Sashi (2018)
Influence of image, quality, satisfaction, and value on client loyalty Survey sample includes 

197 Spanish e-marketplace selling-side users.

  • The results indicated that satisfaction had no direct impact on client loyalty, but that the e-marketplace’s image and user-perceived quality and value are antecedents of its clients’ loyalty.
Janita and Miranda (2013)

RQ effects, interactions and relationship development through firm attributes


Role of RQ (trust, commitment, satisfaction) between relationship value, and loyalty The sample frame included 260 B2B manufacturing companies three self-governing regions in 

Spain (Valencia, Catalonia and Madrid).

  • Trust has a direct, positive effect on commitment. However, the greater trust would not increase loyalty but commitment does thus the effect of trust on loyalty is only indirect through the effect it has on commitment.
  • Loyalty was also positively affected by satisfaction with the supplier
Gil‐Saura, Frasquet‐Deltoro, and Cervera‐Taulet (2009)
Trust and dependence are mediators in Relationship building; customer commitment Social Exchange Theory The survey sampling frame included 577 firms in the timber distribution industry.
  • The study found that customer relationship specific investment, social bonding, relationship termination costs and customer expertise have effects on calculative and affective commitments via dependence and trust.
  • It also shows that interaction satisfaction strengthens the positive effect of dependence on calculative commitment and the positive effect of trust on affective commitment.
  • It suggests dependence and trust are mediators by which to understand the complicated relationship between buyers and sellers.
Chang, Wang, Chih, and Tsai (2012)
RQ as a mediator: Relationship strength and switching costs Relationship marketing theory The survey sample of buyers in 42 countries.
  • The paper confirms the influence of perceived value, switching costs and RQ (satisfaction, trust and affective commitment) on relationship strength.
  • RQ mediates the influence that perceived value has on relationship strength
Barry, Dion, and Johnson (2008)
Trust, commitment and behavioral intentions: Corporate reputation and customer behavioral intentions Survey sample from 351 customers of three Chinese B2B service firms.
  • Results indicate that corporate reputation has a positive influence on both customer trust and customer identification.
  • Customer commitment mediates the relationships between the two relational constructs (customer trust and customer identification) and behavioral intentions.
  • Customer identification and customer commitment relate closely,

but they are distinct constructs in the B2B setting.

Keh and Xie (2009)
Role of RQ on a share of the business Dataset drew from a survey of 948 client firm representatives of 

a Portuguese hotel chain in a B2B services context.

  • Customer commitment directly drives a seller’s share of the business, and simultaneous interrelated changes in customer trust and satisfaction, as

well as customer perceptions of relational value, drive customer commitment, and so exert indirect effects on performance.

  • The model that proposes that a seller’s performance is strengthened by simultaneous interrelated improvements in customer trust, satisfaction, and commitment
Vieira, Winklhofer, and Ennew (2014).
The mediating role of RQ on actual sales and recommendation intention Fortune-100 firm’s 18 key customer executives were interviewed using an in-depth interviewing technique.
  • The strategic mediating role of RQ relative to the key relational variables and both actual sales and recommendation intention is demonstrated
Huntley (2006)
Decision-making capability of interfirm contacts 


Social network and exchange theory Sample data 446 B2B exchanges.
  • The results suggest that the value generated from interfirm relationships derives not only from the quality of customer ties (e.g., trust, commitment, norms), as is typically modelled, but also from the number and decision-making capability of interfirm contacts and the interactions among relational drivers.
  • Moderator analysis of customer characteristics suggests that increasing contact density benefits sellers that have customers with high employee turnover rates, whereas building relationships with key decisions makers generate the highest returns among customers that are more difficult to access
Palmatier (2008)
Phases of relationship development Dataset drew from an interview of 

20 firms in Quebec, Canada, and 10 in France


  • Long-term relationships between a professional consulting firm and its clients depend on the proper management of the relationship before, during, and after the project encounter.