Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marketing (Business Administration)

Document Type



Using social capital theory (SCT), this research conceptualizes trusted advisor relationships (TAR) and empirically tests the implications of such intense relationships on important performance outcomes. Essay 1 was conducted to offer an in-depth analysis of the conceptualization of trusted advisor relationships. A hermeneutical phenomenological approach was used to interpret the data derived from fourteen in-depth interviews with professional salespeople and their business-to-business (B2B) clients. These data supported the development of a conceptual model and definition of TARs. Essay 2 was conducted to explore the measurable components of trusted advisor relationships and solidify an operationalization of the construct for used in empirical research. A pre-test of professional salespeople and buyers allowed a preliminary exploration of constructs representative of the dimensions of SCT across both the business and personal components of B2B relationships. To refine and further test the TAR construct, the main study analyzed data from 181 professional salespeople. Analysis of this data provided a profile of relationship types with high and low levels of social capital across business and personal factors. Essay 3 extended the research in Essay 1 and Essay 2 and focused on two major issues. First, existing theoretical relationships often studied in relationship marketing and sales literature, such as the relationship between economic value and performance outcomes, were assessed in an overall model. This exploration builds on existing models of B2B relationships and explores in an integrative conceptual model the impact of both individual and relationship factors on performance and relationship outcomes. Second, this essay identified how TARs moderate the relationships between the antecedents and consequences of this theoretically grounded model. The essay finds that high social capital relationships serve as a moderating variable impacting the relationships between relationship and individual level antecedents and downstream subjective outcomes measures of interest to managers in practice. Theoretically, the contributions of this research include a better understanding of how social capital derived from business and personal interactions influence business outcomes. Managerially, this research provides more precision in the conceptualization of Trusted Advisor Relationships and generates insights on the positive and negative effects of such intense business and personal relationships.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Secure the entire work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a period of one year. Student has submitted appropriate documentation which states: During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in works, without prior authorization from LSU. At the end of the one year period, either we or LSU may request an automatic extension for one additional year. At the end of the one year secure period (or its extension, if such is requested), the work will be released for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Folse, Judith Anne Garretson



Included in

Marketing Commons