Is customer loyalty vulnerability-based? An empirical study of a Chinese capital-intensive manufacturing industry

Y. H. Wong, Yee Kwong Chan, Wai Ting Ngai, Peter Oswald

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Through cooperation, firms can work together to collectively enhance their performance by sharing resources so as to achieve complementary synergism; while assuring their own self interests by adapting some opportunistic tasks simultaneously to gain benefits. There are few studies on the key but hidden reality of relationship vulnerability - i.e., the dynamic process of both creating relationship value and making sacrifices. We aim to empirically investigate the dimensions of a vulnerability-based relationship (complementary synergism and opportunism) and its link with customer loyalty. A framework is proposed in order to give a new dynamic tool in understanding and implementing effective customer loyalty strategies. Our findings revealed that the level of a vulnerability-based relationship is reflected by the high levels of flexible customization, relationship-specific bonding, coercive integration, buyer idiosyncratic investment and a low level of self-interest seeking. A vulnerability-based relationship also has a positive impact on loyalty. Managerial implications of our study are described.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-93
Number of pages11
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Customer loyalty
  • Relationship marketing
  • Vulnerability-based relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

Cite this