Firm Drivers of Relationship Trust : The Case of Thai Service Exporters

Main Article Content

Araya Hongchindaket


Managers have long known that relationships are important to business. Relationship trust is widely considered a critical factor in enhancing inter-firm relationship quality and performance. However, limited research attention has been invested in determinants of inter-firm trust in the context of service. This research investigates firm factors that drive relationship trust between service exporters and their overseas customers. The study employed in-depth interviews with 10 service exporters in Thailand. Research findings indicate that international experience and resource commitment can considerably influence the level of trust in cross-border interfirm relationships between service exporters and their overseas customers. This research highlights the importance of relationship marketing and export marketing literature.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Research Article


[1] Sherrell, D. L., and Bejou, D. (2007), “Assessing the Productivity of Relationship Marketing: Moving Toward a Paradigm,” Journal of Relationship Marketing, 6(2), 3-7.

[2] Zinkhan, G. M. (2002), “Relationship Marketing: Theory and Implementation,” Journal of Market-Focused Management, 5(2), 83-89.

[2] Day, G. S. (2000), “Managing Market Relationships,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(1), 24-30.

[3] Cavusgil, S. T. (1998), “Executive Insights: International Partnering – A Systematic Framework for Collaborating with Foreign Business Partners,” Journal of International Marketing, 6(1), 91-107.

[4] Kaufmann, Patrick J., and Louise W. Stern (1988), “Relational Exchange Norms, Perceptions of Unfairness, and Retained Hostility in Commercial Litigation,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 32(3), 534-52.

[5] Lee, Y., and Cavusgil, S. T. (2006), “Enhancing Alliance Performance: The Effects of Contractual-based versus Relational-based Governance,” Journal of Business Research, 59(8), 896-905.

[6] Vinh Lu (2009), “Organizational Drivers of Relationship Trust: An Investigation of Service Exporters,” Journal of Relationship Marketing, 8, 330-355.

[7] World Trade Organization (2008). International Trade Statistics 2008, viewed September 18, 2010,

[8] Javalgi and D. Steven White (2002), “Strategic Challenges for the Marketing of Services Internationally,” International Marketing Review, 19(6), 563-81.

[9] Andersson, Svante (2006), “International Growth Strategies in Consumer and Business-to-Business Markets in Manufacturing and Service Sectors,” Journal of Euromarketing, 15(4), 35-56.

[10] Cadogan, John W., Adamantios Diamantopoulos, and Judy A. Siguaw (2002), “Export Market-Oriented Activities: Their Antecedents and Performance Consequences,” Journal of International Business Studies, 33(3), 615-26.

[11] Chadee, Doren D. and Jan Mattsson (1998), “Do Service and Merchandise Exporters Behave and Perform Differently? A New Zealand Investigation,” European Journal of Marketing, 32(9/10), 830-42.

[12] Andersen, Otto (1993), “On the Internationalization Process of Firms: A Critical Analysis,” Journal of International Business Studies, 24(2), 209.

[13] Javalgi and Charles L. Martin (2007), “Internationalization of Services: Identifying the Building-Blocks for Future Research, Journal of Services Marketing, 21(6), 391-97.

[13] La, Vinh Q., Paul G. Patterson, and Chris Styles (2005), “Determinants of Export Performance Across Service Types: A Conceptual Model,” Journal of Services Marketing, 19(6), 379-91.

[13] ---- (2009), “Client-Perceived Performance and Value in Professional B2B Services: An International Perspective, Journal of International Business Studies, 40(2), 274-30.

[14] Day, G. S. (2000), “Managing Market Relationships,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(1), 24-30.

[15] Claro, D. P., Hagelaar, G., and Omta, O. (2003), “The Determinants of Relational Governance and Performance: How to Manage Business Relationship?” Industrial Marketing Management, 32(8), 703-716.

[16] Smith, K. G., Carroll, S. J., and Ashford, S. J. (1995), “Intra- and Inter organizational Cooperation: Toward a Research Agenda,” Academy of Management Journal, 38(1), 7-23.

[17] Ganesan, S. (1994), “Determinants of Long-Term Orientation in Buyer-Seller Relationships,” Journal of Marketing, 58(2), 1-19.

[18] Noordewier, T. G., John, G., and Nevin, J. R. (1990), “Performance Outcomes of Purchasing Arrangements in Industrial Buyer-Vendor Relationships,” Journal of Marketing, 54(4), 80-93.

[19] Cavusgil, S. T., Deligonul, S., and Zhang (2004), “Curbing Foreign Distributor Opportunism: An Examination of Trust, Contracts, and the Legal Environment in International Channel Relationships,” Journal of International Marketing, 12(2), 7-27.

[20] Gounaris, S. P., and Venetis, K. (2002), “Trust in Industrial Service Relationships: Behavioral Consequences, Antecedents and the Moderating Effect of the Duration of the Relationship,” Journal of Services Marketing, 16(7), 636-655.

[21] Seppanen, R., Blomqvist, K., and Sundqvist, S. (2007), “Measuring Inter-Organizational Trust: A Critical Review of the Empirical Research in 1990-2003,” Industrial Marketing Management, 36(2), 249-265.

[22] Doney, Patricia M., Barry M. James, and Russell Abratt (2007), “Trust Determinants and Outcomes in Global B2b Services,” European Journal of Marketing, 41(9/10), 1096-116.

[23] Clark, Terry and Daniel Rajaratnam, and Timothy Smith (1996), “Toward a Theory of International Services: Marketing Intangibles in a World of nations,” Journal of International Marketing, 4(2), 9-28.

[24] Wernerfelt, Birger (1984), “A Resource-Based View of the Firm,” Strategic Management Journal, 5(2), 171-80.

[25] Barney, Jay (1991), “Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage,” Journal of Management, 17(1), 99-120.

[26] Hunt, and Robert M. Morgan (1995), “The Comparative Advantage Theory of Competition,” Journal of Marketing, 59(2), 1-15.

[27] Dhanaraj, Charles and Paul W. Beamish (2003), “A Resource-Based Approach to the Study of Export Performance,” Journal of Small Business management, 41(3), 242-61.

[28] Roath and Rudolf R. Sinkovics (2005), “Utilizing Relational Governance in Export Relationships: Leveraging Learing and Improving Flexibility and Satisfaction,” in Advances in International Marketing, Vol. 16, S. Tamer Cavusgil, ed., 157-85.

[29] Hamel, Gary, Yves L. Doz, and C. K. Prahalad (1989), “Collaborate with Your Competitors and Win, Harvard Business Review, 67(1), 133-39.

[30] Heidi, Jan B., and George John (1990), “Alliances in Industrial Purchasing: The Determinants of Joint Action in Buyer-Supplier Relationships, Journal of Marketing Research, 27(1), 24-36.

[31] Kaufmann, Patrick J., and Louise W. Stern (1988), “Relational Exchange Norms, Perceptions of Unfairness, and Retained Hostility in Commercial Litigation,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 32(3), 534-52.

[32] Berry, Leonard L. (1995), “Relationship Marketing of Services-Growing Interest, Emerging Perspectives,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 23(4), 236-245.

[33] Wilson, D. T. (1995), “An Integrated Model of Buyer-Seller Relationships,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 23(4), 335-345.

[34] Morgan, Neil A. and Shelby D. Hunt (1994), “The Commitment-Trust Theory of Relationship Marketing,” Journal of Marketing, 58(3), 20-38.

[35] Styles, C., Paul G. Patterson, and Farid Ahmed (2008), “A Relational Model of Export Performance,” Journal of International Business Studies, 39(5), 880-900.

[36] Leonidou, Leonidas C. (2003), “Overcoming the Limits of Exporting Research Using the Relational Paradigm,” International Marketing Review, 20(2), 129-41.

[37] Thailand Services Trade (2010). Thailand Services Trade Data, viewed September 3, 2010,

[38] Pisharodi, R. M., Angur, M. G., & Shainesh, G. (2003), “Relationship Strategy, Effectiveness, and Responsiveness in Services Marketing,” Journal of Relationship Marketing, 2(1/2), 3-22.

[39] Hair, Joseph F., Robert P. Bush, and David J. Ortinau (2000), “Marketing Research: A Practical Approach for the New Millenieum,” Boston, MA: Iwin McGraw-Hill.

[40] Kinnear, Thomas C., James R. Taylor, Lester Johnson, and Robert Armstrong (1993), “Australian Marketing Research,” Sydney, McGraw Hill.

[41] Parkhe, Arvind (1998), “Understanding Trust in International Alliances,” Journal of World Business, 93(3), 219-40.

[42] Barney, Jay, and Mark H. Hansen (1994), “Trustworthiness as a Source of Competitive Advantage,” Strategic management Journal, 15 (Winter Special Issue), 175-90.

[43] Zaheer, Akbar, Bill McEvily, and Vincenzo Perrone (1998), “Does Trust Matter? Exploring the Effects of Interorganizational and Interpersonal Trust on Performance,” Organization Science, 9(2), 141-59.

[44] Leonidou, Michael A. Talias, and Constantinos N. Leonidou (2008), “Exercise Power as a Driver of Trust and Commitment in Cross-Border Industrial Buyer-Seller Relationships,” Industrial Marketing Management, 37(1), 92-103.

[45] Leonidou, Leonidas C. and John Hadjimarcou (2002), “Building Successful Export Business Relationships: A Behavioral Perspective,” Journal of International Marketing, 10(3), 96-115.

[46] Cort Kathryn T., David A. Griffith, and D. Steven White (2007), “An Attribution Theory Approach for Understanding the Internationalization of Professional Service Firms,” International Marketing Review, 24(1), 9-25.

[47] Contractor, Farok J., and Susan M. Mudambi (2008), “The Influence of Human Capital Investment on the Exports of Services and Goods: An Analysis of the Top 25 Services Outsourcing Countries,” Management International Review, 48(4), 433-45.

[48] Bello, Daniel C. and David I. Gilliland (1997), “The Effects of Output Controls, Process Controls, and Flexibility on Export Channel Performance,” Journal of Marketing, 61(1), 22-38.

[49] Cavusgil, S. T. and Shaoming Zou (1994), “Marketing Strategy – Performance Relationship: An Investigation of the Empirical Link in Export Market Ventures,” Journal of Marketing, 58(1), 1-21.

[50] Cadogan, John W., Charles C. Cui, Robert E. Morgan, and Vicky M. Story (2006), “Factors Facilitating and Impeding the Development of Export Market-Oriented Behavior: A Study of Hong Kong Manufacturing Exporters,” Industrial Marketing management, 35(5), 634-47.