Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Danny N. Bellenger - Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Wesley J. Johnston - Co-Chair

Third Advisor

Joseph F. Hair

Fourth Advisor

Naveen Donthu


Business-to-business (B2B) marketing practitioners are increasingly relying on branding strategies though academic researchers have been slow to study branding in organizational contexts. By integrating existing conceptual models and research findings, this study examines the noteworthy differences between the B2B and the consumer market contexts and the implications of those differences on the formulation of B2B brand strategies. We introduce a conceptual model that suggests the conditions that are likely to increase or decrease organizations’ propensity to select branded products versus lesser-known or generic products when selecting suppliers, otherwise referred to as brand sensitivity. The proposed model is grounded in risk theory and posits that buying center, purchase situation, and product/relationship variables influence an organization’s brand sensitivity. Finally, we present the findings and implications of the multi-method research approach that was utilized to test the model of the determinants of brand sensitivity in organizational buying contexts. Results suggest that the level of intangibility is the key determinant of brand sensitivity in such settings.


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Marketing Commons