Exporter-importer relationship quality : The inhibiting role of uncertainty, distance, and conflict

Leonidas C. LEONIDOU*, Bradley R. BARNES, Michael A. TALIAS

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

141 Citations (Scopus)


The article examines the impact of uncertainty, distance, and conflict on key elements comprising the quality of the relationship between U.S. industrial exporters and their overseas customers. Information received from 151 manufacturers revealed that these three parameters play a significant negative role in building sound relationship quality, in terms of adaptation, commitment, communication, cooperation, satisfaction, trust, and understanding - which, in turn, may inhibit the firm's progression along the internationalization path. Specifically, an inverse association was found between uncertainty, distance, and conflict, on one hand, and commitment, cooperation, and satisfaction, on the other. In addition, in relationships characterized by high uncertainty, adaptation, communication, trust, and understanding were low. In high distance relationships, communication was insufficient, and in high conflict situations, trust and understanding were low. Several managerial implications are extracted from the study, as well as directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-588
Number of pages13
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number5
Early online date19 Apr 2006
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Business relationships
  • Exporting
  • Industrial marketing
  • International marketing


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