Antecedents of relationship intentions and its association with supplier’s relationship quality in a business-to-business environment
Empirical studies investigating relationship intentions associated with relationship marketing tactics has gained eminence in academia and business. As deliberations on relationship marketing intentions mature, there are concerns yet to be clarified, some relating to customer insights concerning the relationships intentions and relationship quality. Given the prominence of customer buying patterns in modern marketplaces, this study aims to empirically analyse the association between suppliers’ relationship quality and customer perceptions relating to the antecedents of buyer-seller relationship intentions in B2B contexts, with reference to South Africa’s concrete product environment within the construction industry. Civil and Building contractor segments were deemed fit as target respondents, due to their scope of work and size. The social exchange theory and the relationship marketing theories provided a hypothetical lens by which to study and explain perceptions of (customer’s) civil and building contractor’s antecedents of relationship intentions, towards (supplier’s) concrete product manufacturer’s degree of relationship quality. Data was collected using probability sampling (systematic random sampling) procedure. A structured self-administered questionnaire was used. Data was analysed from 560 completed questionnaires. Data was analysed through the use of SPSS and AMOS (version 25.0). The exploratory factor analyses produced 8 distinct factors (flexibility, information sharing/exchange, trust, fear of relationship loss, forgiveness, involvement, expectations and feedback). Confirmatory factor analyses were undertaken using the maximum estimation likelihood to measure the suitability of the measurement model. All items scored factor loadings above the minimum acceptable threshold of 0.50 (Goodness-of-Fit Index (GFI)= 0.824, Comparative fit index (CFI)= 0.903, Incremental Fit Index (IFI)= 0.904, Tucker-Lewis index (TLI)=0.900, Root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA)= 0.50, Chi-square (CMIN/DF)= 2.422). The results of the correlation analysis between the antecedents of relationship intention (Expectations) r= 0.551, (Involvement) r = 0.554, (Trust) r= 0.389 (Forgiveness) r= 0.642, (Feedback) r=0.399 (Flexibility) r=0.190, (Information sharing) r=0.013 (Fear of relationship loss) r=0.215 with relationship quality were computed. The findings of the study advocate that suppliers develop programmes that foster and improve application of marketing strategies, which intensifies their relationship quality levels. It is recommended that concrete product manufacturer-suppliers should at all times meet or exceed customers’ needs and requirements as customers who expects more from their supplier, are intolerable when it comes to product and service improvements, which influences them to build lasting relationships with organizations.