Towards a social exchange theory perspective on preferred customership: Concept and practice

Holger Schiele, Jasper Veldman, Lisa Huttinger, Niels J. Pulles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In the situation of an increase of the role of suppliers, for instance in innovation processes and a scarcity of suppliers, buying firms find themselves in competition for the benevolence of suppliers. In this conference contribution, we introduce the concept of preferred customer status, i.e. a buyer is awarded preferential treatment by its key suppliers when compared to the supplier’s other customers. As there is a lack of knowledge of what motivates suppliers to treat certain buyers better than others, our research focuses on the suppliers’ evaluation of customers and how it can be influenced by buyers. Based on social exchange theory, we propose a conceptual model that contains customer attractiveness, supplier satisfaction and knowledge of alternative customers as factors influencing suppliers to award preferred customer status to a certain customer. Besides, based on a novel World-Café method, we show what practices CPOs and consultants experience to be important in increasing attractiveness of customers and satisfaction of suppliers. We conclude by suggesting future research directions in this field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSupply Management Research
Subtitle of host publicationAktuelle Forschungsergebnisse 2012
EditorsRonald Bogaschewsky, Michael Eßig, Rainer Lasch, Wolfgang Stölzle
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-8349-3928-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-8349-3927-2
Publication statusPublished - 28-Mar-2012

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