Buying business services: Analyzing the service buyer - service provider interface

Wendy van der Valk, Finn Wynstra, B. Axelsson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The acquisition of business services is becoming increasingly important for many organizations. However, buying business services has not been studied in much detail and the studies that have been conducted have either focused on one type of service or a specific stage of the purchasing process (i.e. supplier selection). This paper presents the partial results of a series of interview studies
into the purchase of business services and the ongoing interactions following a purchase. The paper addresses the interface between service buyers and service providers, more specifically the Decision Making Unit (buying centre). The paper investigates whether the Decision Making Unit varies for different types of services across different types of companies. The results indicate that the Decision Making Unit for component services and consumption services differs; this difference is reasonably consistent across the companies studied. Furthermore, the ways in which the companies studied deal with services and their providers is overall rather successful, which means that the interaction taking place facilitates the exchange of the service and (further) development of the relationship. This would imply that different service purchases require different constitutions of the buying center in order to have functional interaction between buyer and provider.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDealing with Dualities
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 21st Annual IMP Conference
Place of PublicationRotterdam
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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