Business interaction and institutional work : When intermediaries make efforts to change their position

in Industrial Marketing Management, 80

Michel, Sophie ; Saucède, Florent ; Pardo, Catherine (19..-....) ; Fenneteau, Hervé

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A company's ability to change its position (its relationships with others) depends on a shared interpretation among business network actors of what the company wants to do. The purpose of this study is to examine change in the position of actors in a business network setting. We use the institutional work approach to understand positioning in a business network as an institutional arrangement and explore actors' purposive efforts to maintain or disrupt the rules of the game. We use a multiple ... case-study approach to explore the fruit and vegetable distribution channel. We discuss what happens when the institutional work carried out by retailers to disrupt the position of wholesalers meets the institutional work carried out by wholesalers to maintain their position. The findings show how interacting institutional efforts result in new positions for wholesalers: the “troubleshooter” position and the “quality enhancer” role. Our study contributes to the field of business-to-business marketing in that it sheds light on the co-creation process of the rules of the game that drive business-to-business interactions. With reference to institutional theory, our study draws on the idea that institutional arrangements are unanticipated consequences of interactions between actors.

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