Research Seminars

Incoherence in Products and BtoB Relationships

Speaker: Ujwal Kayande
Professor of Marketing, Australian National University

16 May 2012 - Room H033 - From 13:00 to 14:30

Abstract: Individuals view social objects such as products and relationships from the frame of reference of their beliefs of how the world typically works. For example, if a consumer believes that a powerful car is typically not fuel efficient, she will view a new car’s claim of “more power, less gas” from the frame of reference of those beliefs. What is lesser known is the strong constraining effect of these beliefs on how much individuals value products and relationships. This constraining effect of beliefs results in a phenomenon that we call incoherence.

In this research seminar, I will present a conceptual framework of how the incoherence effect operates, and how it impacts value in both the BtoC as well as the BtoB contexts. While I will provide many examples from the world of products, my main focus will be on the effect of incoherent behaviour by a partner firm in the context of business-to-business exchange relationships. Using a large number of longitudinal reports of industrial buyers and sellers, we find that incoherent behaviour damages relationships even if one partner tries to improve the relationship. This finding provides insights into why exchange relationships that hit a downward spiral can be difficult, if not impossible, to salvage. I will conclude with implications of these findings, and more generally of the effect of incoherence.

In this research seminar, I will present a conceptual framework of how the incoherence effect operates, and how it impacts value in both the BtoC as well as the BtoB contexts. While I will provide many examples from the world of products, my main focus will be on the effect of incoherent behaviour by a partner firm in the context of business-to-business exchange relationships. Using a large number of longitudinal reports of industrial buyers and sellers, we find that incoherent behaviour damages relationships even if one partner tries to improve the relationship. This finding provides insights into why exchange relationships that hit a downward spiral can be difficult, if not impossible, to salvage. I will conclude with implications of these findings, and more generally of the effect of incoherence.

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