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EMAC 2023 Annual

Relational Norm Asymmetries in Buyer-Supplier Relationships

Published: May 24, 2023


Kristina Schaffer, Karl-Franzens Universit├Ąt Graz ; ALOK KUMAR, Univ of Nebraska Lincoln ; Stefan Hurtak, University of Graz, Institute of Marketing; Vishal Kashyap, University of Graz, Institute of Marketing


This study investigates the neglected consequences of asymmetric perceptions of relational norms in buyer-supplier relationships. Previous literature mainly demonstrates relational norms' positive aspects and links them to beneficial relationship outcomes. In contrast, this work demonstrates that even if a high degree of norms is present in the relationship, asymmetric perceptions can negatively affect performance outcomes. Hence, by disaggregating relational norms into average degree and asymmetry, this study provides a more fine-grained perspective of relationalism in interfirm governance. Additionally, this work investigates the nuanced effects of prominent relationship attributes such as specific investments, reputation, and prior history and how those interact with average and asymmetric norms. Using a dataset of 112 buyer-supplier dyads, this study contributes to the literature and practice by investigating the effectiveness of norms in governing interfirm relationships.