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EMAC 2023 Annual

Enhancing Solution Effectiveness: The Role of Customer Adaptiveness

Published: May 24, 2023


Victoria Kramer, University of Muenster; Manfred Krafft, University of Münster; Stefan Worm, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway; Sundar Bharadwaj, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia


Customer adaptiveness has been identified as a potential driver of the effectiveness of customer solutions in the literature. Notably, research on the customer’s perspective on solution selling is limited. Therefore, this paper investigates the impact of customer adaptiveness on solution effectiveness, as well as driving forces of customer adaptiveness. The authors develop a conceptual framework based on transaction cost economics and analyze data from the trade show industry to test their hypotheses. In line with the hypothesized effects, the findings show that customer adaptiveness enhances solution effectiveness. Furthermore, an interplay of trust, supplier reference usage, and customer preference ambiguity affects customer adaptiveness. This paper complements previous research on solution selling, which has primarily focused on the supplier’s perspective. Based on our findings, both customers and suppliers can determine whether a purchasing situation is suited for solution selling.