Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Salih Tamer Cavusgil

Second Advisor

Leigh Anne Liu

Third Advisor

Naveen Donthu

Fourth Advisor

Wesley J. Johnson

Fifth Advisor

Seyda Deligonul


The relationship marketing literature suggests trust and commitment are two central facets in business-to-business (B2B) relationships. However, extant studies criticize how relationship marketing literature theorizes B2B trust and commitment. This dissertation aims to draw various perspectives from disciplines of Sociology, Psychology, and Management Sciences to examine the cultivation of B2B trust and commitment to shed lights on the literature.

In Essay 1, I reported empirical findings on 202 international buyer-seller relationships. Essay 1 reveals that, within bilateral asset specificity, (1) achieving goodwill reciprocity always enhances trust, regardless of the duration contingency; (2) violating equivalence reciprocity impairs trust over the duration. Essay 1 resolves inconsistent findings of how relationship duration influence on B2B trust in the relationship marketing literature. Indeed, another contribution of Essay 1 is to extend the field’s understandings on bilateral asset specificity by proposing the underlying reciprocity in addition to economic-based explanation.

In Essay 2, I argued that, in the triadic business relationship among exporter, importer, and host market buyers, importers are threatened by the risk of disintermediation and face the conundrum between to support and to against the supplier’s global marketing in the host market. I reported findings from 164 triadic business. Essay 2 empirically identifies that, from the importer’s view, the three focal dyadic business relationships (i.e. exporter-importer, importer-buyer, and exporter-buyer) are interconnected with each other. Importers employ the reference point approach to manage the multi-dyadic business relationships. The results reveal that, importers holistically evaluate the buyer’s relative commitment to the importer themselves than to the upstream exporter to form their host market strategies.