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.
- Customer loyalty
- Relationship marketing
- Vulnerability-based relationship
ASJC Scopus subject areas