The concept of attraction is not reserved for the study of interpersonal relationships between husband and wife, family members, or lifelong friends. On the contrary, it contains much potential as a variable describing interpersonal business exchange relationships. This potential has been noted by well-known industrial marketing scholars in the past, and recent theoretical advances have incorporated attraction to describe buyer– supplier exchange, although primarily at the interorganizational level of analysis. The in-depth understanding of interpersonal attraction between boundary spanners representing buying and supply companies has yet to be developed. By drawing on social psychology and social exchange literature, this paper attempts to fill some of this gap. It contributes by uncovering the elements and process of interpersonal attraction. Furthermore, propositions are formulated to guide future research efforts on interpersonal attraction in the buyer– supplier context. Finally, the managerial value and challenges of applying attraction to buyer–supplier exchange relationships are discussed.
Industrial Marketing Management, 2012, Vol 41
Buyer–supplier relationship; Business exchange; Social interaction; Interpersonal attraction; Attractiveness