A glaring hole exists between academic marketing literature and anecdotal observations on the effect of
interpersonal ties for interfirm exchange. Academic marketing literature, economic perspective in particular, either frowns on
or belittles the impact of interpersonal ties for interfirm exchange. In contrast, we often hear street-smart people say that it is
“who you know, not what you know,” that counts for the success in business. This study aims to clarify the role of
interpersonal ties in interfirm exchange by examining the effect of interpersonal dependence on interfirm-level issues in
industrial distributor – supplier relationships. Specifically, we propose that interpersonal dependence has differential effects
on the elements of interfirm relationships (distributor dependence, trust, and commitment) and that, in return, these
exchange elements have differential effects on the efficiency of interfirm exchange. The proposed hypotheses were tested
with data collected through a survey of industrial distributors in the United States and Japan. The hypotheses on the effects
of interpersonal dependence on interfirm relational elements received a mixed support, while the hypotheses on the effects of
interfirm relational elements on the efficiency of exchange received support.
Kim, K. Interpersonal Dependence and Efficiency of Interfirm Exchange: A Cross-national Study of Industrial Distributor – Supplier Relationships. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults:Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute ofFisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. InternationalInstitute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.