Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Research investigating business-to-business (B2B) exchange supports the position that cultivating strong exchange relationships is vital to the long-term success of both parties involved in an exchange. However, while much is known about how exchange relationships are developed and organized to yield maximum benefits for buyers and sellers, very little research has been advanced to understand how B2B exchanges experience disruptive events and what impact disruptions have on the long-term health of these relationships. Across three essays, this dissertation utilizes a multi-method approach to examine the nature and impact of disruptive events on inter-firm exchange relationships to address this shortcoming in the literature. Essay 1 draws from multiple literature bases, including seminal research from both the B2B exchange literature and the business-to-consumer (B2C) service failure literature, to develop a new conceptualization of relational disruption and relational recovery in B2B exchanges. Additionally, using the critical incident technique (CIT) and a sample of over 600 business professionals, this research examines the multitude of ways exchange relationships are disrupted. The findings indicate that lower-magnitude disruptive events such as service failures are far more commonly experienced relative to high-magnitude events such as opportunistic acts. Building from the findings in Essay 1, in Essay 2 we work with a large consumer goods manufacturer to analyze the impact of supplier-caused product and service disruptions on customer purchasing using exclusively the secondary data furnished by the manufacturer. The results indicate that disruptive events result in a significant post-disruption decrease in customer spending, and a unique pattern of effects is observed in which decreased sales are not generally realized until a period 4-6 months after the disruption (marking a lagged effect), peak in a period 7-9 months after the disruption, and then return to normal levels 10-15 months after the disruption. Finally, in Essay 3 over 650 of the manufacturer’s customers are surveyed to establish how customer evaluations of satisfaction, trust, and loyalty in exchange relationships are impacted by disruptive events. The results demonstrate that supplier-caused disruptive events have a significant negative impact on customer evaluations of service quality, satisfaction, and loyalty intentions.



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Committee Chair

Black, William C.



Included in

Marketing Commons