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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Purchasing Manager Online Information Behavior: Insights from Repertory Grid Interviews

Published: May 28, 2019


Maximilian Lüders, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT); Martin Klarmann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)


Digital B2B; Organizational Buying; Online Information Behavior


This paper explores the utilization of online information sources in organizational buying processes. Based on 40 in-depth interviews, six types of online information behaviors as well as four drivers and four barriers of using the Internet in the purchasing process are identified. Using the repertory grid interview technique, online search as information source is linked to existing and new concepts of organizational buying. The study highlights the crucial importance of a company's web presence for lead generation by demonstrating how organizational buyers engage in self-reliant online search and selection of potential suppliers by using quality signals available online. “Openness to new suppliers” is identified as one strong determinant of online information search. This new construct is only weakly related to the novelty of a buying situation, indicating that the Internet can be an important information source not only for “new task” but also for “modified rebuy” situations.