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Applications of Agency Theory in B2B Marketing: Review and Future Directions - Abstract


Mark Bergen (, University of Minnesota
Shantanu Dutta (, USC Marshall School of Business
Sourav Ray (, DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University
Ranjan Banerjee (, University of Minnesota


Agency theory has proved to be useful as a theoretical and empirical lens for examining a wide range of issues in business to business markets. In this chapter, we attempt to explore the current and potential (future) applications of agency theory in business markets. We first explain the major constructs embedded in agency theory, the assumptions underlying the theoretical structure, and the classes of problems to which this structure is inherently well suited. We then touch on the key characteristics of business to business marketing, and the demands that these characteristics impose on incumbent theories which seek to shed light on business markets. We subsequently outline the range of issues in business markets to which agency theory might be productively applied, along with modifications/extensions required to accommodate unique features of these markets. We review three emerging areas of interest, identifying, in each case, promising areas for future research:

  1. The recent body of agency theoretic research in business-to-business marketing, commenting on both the areas of application, as well as the extent to which the applications have managed to incorporate specific features of business markets.
  2. The modifications required to classical agency models to make them more relevant to marketing managers operating in a business to business setting.
  3. The integration of recent advances in econometric methods with agency theoretic models, to answer managerial questions related to relationship structure and performance in business to business markets.

The Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing

This chapter is part of the ISBM Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing, edited by Professors Gary Lilien and Raj Grewal. The Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing is available from Edward Elgar Publishing and other online book retailers.

As the authors retain the copyright to their chapters, only they have the right to use or distribute their chapter. If you would like a copy of this chapter, please contact the author or authors directly through their emails included above.

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