Personal characteristics, trust, conflict, and effectiveness in marketing/sales working relationships

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
European Journal of Marketing, 2007, 41 (9-10), pp. 1117 - 1145
Issue Date:
2007-09-14
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Purpose - The key objective of this research is to test how two trust dimensions (cognition-based trust and affect-based trust) mediate the effects of three personal characteristics (psychological distance, the marketing manager's sales experience, and the marketing manager's relative level of formal education) on the following outcome variables: dysfunctional conflict, functional conflict, and perceived relationship effectiveness. Design/methodology/approach - Drawing on the interaction approach, the paper develops a conceptual framework to better understand the nature of the working relationship between marketing managers and sales managers. In total, it develops and test 13 hypotheses. Partial least squares was used to assess the validity of the measures, and to estimate the structural model. Using a cross-sectional design, data were collected from 101 marketing managers in Australia. Findings - The hypothesized model has high explanatory power and it was found that both trust dimensions strongly affected all three outcome variables. However, though both forms of trust were positively related to perceived relationship effectiveness, affect-based trust had the strongest impact on this outcome. The results also confirm that both cognition- and affect-based trust have negative effects on dysfunctional conflict, and strong positive effects on functional conflict. In addition to these new findings, the paper shows that while psychological distance has a strong negative impact on cognition-based trust, it has no impact on affect-based trust. Moreover, it was found that when marketing managers had greater levels of sales experience, it increased their affect-based trust but it had no impact on cognition-based trust. Finally, the marketing manager's relative level of formal education had no impact on either forms of trust. Originality/value - This is one of a handful of studies to employ a large-scale empirical approach to examine the neglected cross-functional relationship between marketing and sales. Also, it is one of the few studies to examine the effects of cognition-based trust and affect-based trust on performance outcomes. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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