A Contingency Perspective of Communication, Conflict Resolution and Buyer Search Effort in Buyer-Supplier Relationships



This study investigates the moderating effects of buying context on the relationship between communication elements and the effort buyers exert while searching for new suppliers throughout a buyer-supplier relationship development process. A mail survey of members of the Institute for Supply Management™ was conducted and the data were analyzed using moderated regression. The results suggest that company size, buyer experience, relationship duration and relationship importance affect the association between a buyer's search effort and the communication elements. Interestingly, the buying context affects the relationship between search effort and the communication elements in different ways and to a different extent in each stage of the relationship development process.