Mature relationships: Why does relational orientation turn into transaction orientation?

Kishore Gopalakrishna Pillai, Arun Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


One of the fundamental assumptions of relationship marketing is that the length of the relationship increases the relational orientation of the partners. Recently, however, researchers have suggested that the benefits of relationship marketing are not evident in a large number of industries [e.g., Journal of Marketing 64 (2000, October) 17]. In this paper, we examine these contradictory results and, using extant research in this area, we model the antecedents of mature relationships that lead to relational versus transactional orientation. Most buyer seller associations follow an s-shaped curve between partners' length of association and the relational orientation of the buyer. However, for some buyer–seller associations, we suggest that there is an inverted u-shaped relationship between relational orientation and length of association. We examine relational attributes and propose variables that are the antecedents of transactional orientation in mature relationships. Implications for theory and managerial practice are highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-651
Number of pages9
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number8
Early online date17 Sep 2003
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


  • Transactions
  • Mature relationships
  • Relational orientation
  • Transactional orientation

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