Relationship performance dimensions of buyer-supplier exchanges

Tom O'Toole, Bill Donaldson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Whilst there is much research material on buyer and supplier performance assessment and management, a relationship perspective can bring an added dimension, especially to the performance of close, mutual relationships. This article aims to bring a relationship performance understanding to the study of buyer-supplier exchange. Unfortunately, business-to-business relationships are assumed to enhance performance but what little research has been conducted is limited to a few dimensions reflecting a narrow theory or practice assumption. To remedy this we investigate a relationship performance definition that incorporates both non-financial and financial dimensions. The results are developed from seven qualitative interviews followed by a postal survey incorporating the views of 200 industrial buyer respondents in the UK. To examine the relationship among the performance variables, factor analysis was conducted on 21 dimensions of performance included in the research. On this basis, key dimensions of relationship performance are grouped and implications drawn for defining relationship performance and its measurement. The authors conclude that it is meaningful to take a relationship performance position when managing buyer-supplier interactions. However, not all the dimensions identified may be available to all types of relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-207
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


  • Buyer-supplier relationships
  • Industrial exchange behaviour
  • Performance evaluation
  • Relationship performance
  • Vendor Assessment


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