An empirical investigation of network-oriented behaviors in business-to-business markets

Sabrina C. Thornton, Stephan C. Henneberg, Peter Naudé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This study is concerned with the extent to which network-oriented behaviors directly and/or indirectly affect firm performance. It argues that a firm's interaction behaviors in relation to an embedded network structure are key mechanisms that facilitate the development of important organizational capabilities in dealing with business partners. Such network-oriented behaviors, which are aimed at affecting the position of a company in the network, are consequently important drivers of firm performance, rather than the network structure alone. We develop a conceptual model that captures network-oriented behaviors as a driving force of firm performance in relation to three other key organizational behaviors, i.e., customer-oriented, competitor-oriented and relationship-oriented behaviors. We test the hypothesized model using a dataset of 354 responses collected via an on-line questionnaire from UK managers, whose organizations operate in business-to-business markets in either the manufacturing or services sectors. This study provides four key findings. First, a firm's network-oriented behaviors positively affect the development of customer-oriented and competitor-oriented behaviors. Secondly, they also foster relationship coordination with its important business partners within the network. Thirdly, the effective management of the firm's portfolio of relationships is found to mediate the positive impact of network-oriented behaviors on firm profitability. Lastly, closeness to end-users amplifies the positive effect of network-oriented behaviors on relationship portfolio effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-180
Number of pages14
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Early online date11 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


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