Competing through relationships: Grounding relationship marketing in resource-advantage theory

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158 Scopus citations


A common element of all views of relationship marketing is the “co-operate-to-compete” thesis. That is, to be an effective competitor often requires one to be an effective co-operator. One implication of this thesis is that not all instances of firms co-operating with each other constitute anti-competitive collusion. This article argues that, although neoclassical, perfect competition theory cannot provide a theoretical foundation for relationship marketing's “co-operate-to-compete” thesis, the recently developed “resource-advantage” theory of competition can do so. Furthermore, this article uses resource-advantage theory to address the relationship portfolio conundrum. Specifically, the paper argues that firms should develop a relationship portfolio that is comprised of relationships that constitute relational resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-445
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997

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