Relationships between exporters from Pakistan and importers from the United Kingdom : a dyadic perspective
This research is in reply to requests made by academicians to conduct research on\ud cross-border marketing channels in developing countries (cf Cunningham, 2001).\ud With its grounding in interaction theory and relationship marketing theory, an\ud interpretive approach is taken that looks into the relationships between importers\ud from a developed country (UK) and exporters from a developing country\ud (Pakistan) in a context which has not been studied before. Nine pairs of importerexporter\ud dyads from across three industries (bed-linen, towels, leather apparel)\ud were interviewed iteratively. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and\ud analysed hermeneutically to build categories and themes of data.\ud The results showed that good relationships had built over the years of mutual\ud exchange and the relationships were characterised by building of relational bonds\ud that acted as governance structures. But the relational bonds were unique to the\ud dyads. Exporters made process and product modification investments but\ud importers investments were limited to time and effort in learning. Extensive\ud learning was involved in the initial days of relationship start-up but a happy\ud centre-point had been achieved. The IMP model was modified for the context of\ud the research based on respondents‟ definitions of their perceptions of relational\ud exchanges and their effects on the dyadic relationship. It was found that country\ud perceptions played a very strong role in the entire interaction process. It mediated\ud the adaptations and institutionalisation of relational bonds, carried with it a strong\ud product quality perception, and governed the power/dependence,\ud conflict/cooperation, closeness/distance continua. Another phenomenon of interest was observed. Steep price pressures from the\ud retailers due to changing market structure and increasing competition for both\ud importers and exporters had a very strong negative influence on dyadic\ud relationships. Importers and exporters defined it as a transient phase due to\ud China‟s artificially depressed prices, and the dyads perceived that these prices\ud were not sustainable and would eventually rise.\ud But in the meanwhile, it was observed that as importers moved their purchases to\ud cheaper supply-sources, they showed high levels of relationship energy. Though\ud interorganisational relationships may have been subdued, or even severed,\ud interpersonal relationships were strong and strategically maintained to keep the\ud crucial link that would allow importers to return once the unstable conditions of\ud perceived unstable short time depressed prices had alleviated and Pakistan was\ud once more considered an efficient source of supply. Exporters devised strategies\ud to survive in the interim period while they waited for importers to return with\ud renewed business. Opportunism was also observed on part of both importers and\ud exporters since short-term gains became more attractive than long-term returns on\ud relationship-investment. This state of heightened uncertainty and short-term\ud perspective of the otherwise long-enduring relationships was termed a\ud consequence of Perceived Dynamic Competitive Prices.
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