Although collaborative business arrangements based on relationship marketing have become ubiquitous over the past decades, research studies of relationship value in international marketing channels are scarce. Drawing on the relational view of competitive advantage, this study investigates the drivers of relationship value in exporter–importer relationships and its impact on customer loyalty. The study findings reveal that relationship-specific investments, knowledge sharing, complementary capabilities, and relational norms are powerful contributors of importer-perceived value in an overseas supplier relationship. Importantly, exporter cultural sensitivity weakens the negative effect of psychic distance on relationship value; when cultural sensitivity is low, psychic distance takes on greater importance in attenuating relationship value, whereas when cultural sensitivity is high, psychic distance has no discernible effect. In addition, the results demonstrate that relationship value results in insensitivity to competitive offerings and future purchase expansion. The article concludes with a discussion of implications for international marketing theory and practice.
- relationship value
- psychic distance
- cultural sensitivity
- international distribution channels
- relational view of competitive advantage