Types of inter-firm relations and their comparative economic performance: Evidence from Russian retail market


Based on economic-sociological, marketing, and strategic management literature, we combine two classifications of inter-firm relations (horizontal and vertical) and propose the original typology of four ideal types of inter-firm exchange. The quantitative prevalence and the comparative economic efficiency of each ideal type are estimated using indicators of sales dynamics, changes in commodity range and competitive positions. The empirical analysis is based on data from a standardized survey of 684 corporate managers (of retailer and supplier firms) operating in Russia in the food and non-food markets conducted by the HSE in 2016. The analysis revealed high prevalence of building intensive inter-firm relations in the supply chain and low prevalence of network connections with competitors. Additionally, the combination of horizontal relationships with competitors and building vertical relationships in accordance with the concept of relationship marketing is associated with the highest rates of economic efficiency.The article was prepared within the framework of the project of the Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology of the National Research University Higher School of Economics with the financial support of the Basic Research Program of the National Research University Higher School of Economics

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