Using Signals to Initiate Importer-Exporter Relationships: Evidence from Vietnamese Importers

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, 2014, 21 (2), pp. 111 - 122
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Purpose: Realizing the existence of information asymmetry in export markets and the use of signals to distinguish high-qualified sellers from low-qualified sellers, this study investigates the effects of signal consistency and signal clarity on exporter credibility, and subsequently, importer relationship intention. Methodology: Using a survey data set collected from a systematic sample of 418 Vietnamese importers, the authors tested a model hypothesizing the impact of signal consistency and signal clarity on exporter credibility, and subsequently, on importer relationship intention. Findings: The authors found that signal consistency and clarity have a positive impact on exporter credibility. Signal consistency also enhances the level of signal clarity. They also found that exporter credibility underlies importer relationship intension. Research Implications: Under the condition of information asymmetry, importers face difficulties in identifying and evaluating the best supplier among available suppliers in order to make the most appropriate selection decision. The findings confirm that signal clarity and consistency can help exporters to overcome such problems. Exporters should ensure that all signals sent to importers are clear and consistent over time to encourage importers to build long-term business relationships with them. Contributions: The findings of this study add to the literature on signaling in exporter-importer relationships and can serve as an initiation for further research in the area in transitioning economies.
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