Encouraging Customer Participation by Leveraging Interdependence Structure and Relationship Commitments: Empirical Evidence from Chinese Industrial Firms

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Mingfei Du
jing zhang


Literature suggests integrating customers into value creation can strengthen a company’s core competencies. However, it is still unclear how inter-firm dependence structure impacts customer’s willingness to participate. This paper aims at exploring the impacts of two dimensions of interdependence structure between seller and buyer (total interdependence and interdependence symmetry) upon customer participation via customer’s calculative and affective commitments, as well as the moderating effects of environmental dynamism, process interdependence and technological complexity in the customer commitments and participation link, in industrial marketing contexts. The questionnaire survey among 376 B2B firms was adopted to test the conceptual model and research hypotheses. The research findings provide insightful managerial implications for B2B firms as to how to encourage customers to participate by properly leveraging interdependence structure and customer’s relationship commitments according to environmental and task-specific characteristics.

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