Our research deals with the role of actors in change in business relationships and networks. In this study, we explore how cognitive elaboration of experience of a relationship affects the relationship development. The link between behaviors and cognitive elaborations has been the object of recent research in marketing, but little attention has been given to the issue of cognition and behaviors when actors interact in business relationships. Given the role of relationships and their dynamics for the development of business networks, we believe that the issue deserves more attention. Also, compared to the interest in the space dimension of business networks, i.e., network pictures, perceptions of time have been under-investigated. We report findings from 84 bilateral interviews with managers involved as customers or suppliers in 21 relationships with ICT Security at two points in time. We collected their interpretations and reinterpretations of past developments, outcomes, and desired outcomes of the relationships in which they were involved. Our data suggest that the link between managers' cognitive elaborations and relationship dynamics is less direct than commonly assumed. We argue that evolution of a relationship cannot be explained by individual interpretations of the parties involved in the relationship; a preliminary finding is that actors' intentions appear more to shape the interpretations, rather than the contrary.
- Business networks
- Business relationships