Original Research

The antecedents and postcedents of satisfaction in business-to-business relationships in South Africa

Mornay Roberts-Lombard, Mercy Mpinganjira, Goran Svensson
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 50, No 1 | a212 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v50i1.212 | © 2019 Mornay Roberts-Lombard, Mercy Mpinganjira, Goran Svensson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 2018 | Published: 25 February 2019

About the author(s)

Mornay Roberts-Lombard, Department of Marketing Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Mercy Mpinganjira, Department of Marketing Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Goran Svensson, Department of Marketing Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa; and Department of Management, Kristiania University College, Norway

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Background: A relationship marketing approach to the management of business relationships can enhance overall customer satisfaction and reduce economic risks, such as opportunism that is associated with business dealings.

Aim: The aim of this study was to establish whether a positive relationship exists between trust and commitment, whether trust has a positive influence on commitment, whether trust and commitment positively influence satisfaction and whether opportunism and conflict are outcomes of satisfaction in South African buyer–supplier relationships.

Setting: Top 500 companies operating in the South African private sector.

Methods: Using a structured questionnaire, data were gathered from 250 large companies in South Africa and were analysed through the application of structural equation modelling (SEM).

Results: The findings indicate that both trust and commitment were perceived as important antecedents of satisfaction in a South African business-to-business environment, and that trust is a precursor to commitment in relationship building between organisational buyers and sellers in South Africa. This study adds value by assisting business-to-business buyers and sellers in South Africa on variables to consider when developing relationship-building strategies.

Conclusion: Both parties to a relationship should therefore build relationships founded on trust and commitment. This will enhance their joint satisfaction, resulting in less opportunism and conflict, and will foster long-term relationship building based on mutual satisfaction. In contrast, dissatisfaction could increase opportunism and conflict between the parties, leading eventually to the termination of their business relationship.


Trust; commitment; satisfaction; opportunism; conflict; relationship marketing; South Africa


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