1 Department of Marketing and Statistics, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 MAPP - Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
How do retailers decide what products to buy? Previous answers to this question have tended to focus on the decisions being made, typically investigating what criteria retail buyers use to choose between products and suppliers (Hansen & Skytte 1998). However, as the decisions made by retail buyers have been treated as if they were more or less discrete events in previous studies, little is known about the process leading up to a decision being made. Furthermore, scant attention has been paid to the contexts within which retailer buying behaviour occurs. This paper presents some preliminary findings of a study of how German food retailers decide what pork products to buy in which retailer buying behaviour was viewed as an ongoing organisational sensemaking process embedded in, at least, social, organisational, competitive and societal contexts. The aim of the study was to gain an understanding of how and why retail buyers make certain decisions rather than simply focusing on what they decide. This paper focuses on the beliefs retail buyers have regarding organisational identities and competitive contexts and in particular discusses whether the beliefs regarding organisational identities filter and mould beliefs regarding the competitive context.