Friends or strangers? Attempts at reactivating buyer–supplier relationships
Journal article, 2021

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore an important management aspect of business relationship dynamics, namely, the reactivation process of previously ended buyer–supplier relationships.
Design/methodology/approach: A processual case study approach focusing on a single in-depth case has been used. The case is based on longitudinal data from a number of sources concerning one reactivation failure.
Findings: Grounded in previous research and based on this study’s case findings, the authors have designed a model of analysis for relationship reactivation processes. Using the model on this study’s particular case, the authors show how the structural properties of network embeddedness and resource ties worked in favor of the process, whereas the social bonds and the lack of them led to mistrust that disturbed the negotiation and, hence, worked against the reactivation process.
Originality/value: This study makes a contribution to the field of relationship dynamics by exploring relationship reactivation processes. The designed model shows how reactivation can be understood as an interplay between structural properties and (re)building activities and contributes new knowledge on factors that affect this process.

Supplier relations


Disconfirming case

Buyer–seller relationships

Business relationships

Structural properties

Industrial purchasing


Industrial marketing


Business-to-business marketing

Rebuilding activities


León Poblete

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Anna Bengtson

Uppsala University

Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing

0885-8624 (ISSN)

Vol. 36 2 177-190

Subject Categories

Business Administration

Information Science

Information Systemes, Social aspects



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