University of Oulu

The dissolution process of a business relationship : a case study from tailored software business

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Author: Tähtinen, Jaana1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Economics and Industrial Management, Department of Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2001
Publish Date: 2001-10-22
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Economics and Industrial Management, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Keckmaninsali (Auditorium HU 106), Linnanmaa, on November 23rd, 2001, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Professor Asta Salmi
Professor Ivan Snehota


This research aims at developing theory about the dissolution process of business-to-business relationships in tailored software context. Although dissolving business relationships can be viewed as one of the essential themes of marketing, the existing research on dissolution does not provide us with a holistic picture of the dissolution as a process.

This research builds an empirically-grounded model of the business relationship dissolution process. First, a theoretical, tentative model of the process of business relationship dissolution is built. Second, empirical knowledge is acquired from a case study of business relationship dissolution in a software context. The case study data has been collected from various sources, from both seller and buyer organisations as well as network actors, through interviews and also from other written and oral sources in order to ensure triangulation. Third, the findings of the case study are compared to the tentative process model and the model is adjusted accordingly, thus developing the empirically-grounded process model.

The process model includes three elements: the nature of the relationship, the factors influencing its dissolution, and the dissolution process. It incorporates both the time dimension and the multiplicity of the actors (individuals, companies, other relationships) involved into the model. The nature of the relationship is classified (terminal, continuous, episodic) as are the influencing factors and events (predisposing, precipitating and attenuating). The dissolution process is modelled by using stages, which describe the different action and time periods of the process, and by using levels, which describe the different actors who bring the process about. Six stages are distinguished: the communication stage, consideration stage, disengagement stage, enabling stage, restoration stage, and sensemaking / aftermath stage. The concept of stage is used to divide the complex process into more comprehensible periods and to emphasise that in each stage, managers’ actions differ. The dissolution process does not always proceed through all the stages, nor have the stages any particular order.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. G, Oeconomica
ISSN-E: 1796-2269
ISBN: 951-42-6530-0
ISBN Print: 951-42-6529-7
Issue: 10
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2001. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.