Journal article

Specific investments in marketing relationships: Expropriation and bonding effects

AI Rokkan, JB Heide, KH Wathne

Journal of Marketing Research | Published : 2003


Specific investments, which are tailored to a particular company or value-chain partner, are important components of firms' marketing strategies. At the same time, extant theory suggests that such investments pose considerable risk, because they put the receiver in a position to opportunistically exploit the investor. In this article, the authors examine this “expropriation” scenario but also consider whether specific investments, because of their specialized nature, may actually “bond” the receiver and reduce opportunism under certain conditions. These conditions involve a focal relationship's time horizon (i.e., its extendedness) and particular norms. The key theoretical argument is that t..

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