Ethical and moral dilemmas associated with strategic relationships between business-to-business buyers and Sellers

Journal of Business Ethics 72 (1):87 - 102 (2007)
While ethical and moral issues have been widely considered in the general areas of marketing and sales, similar attention has not been given to the impact of strategic account management (SAM) approaches to handling the relationships between suppliers and very␣large customers. SAM approaches have been widely␣adopted by suppliers as a mechanism for managing␣relationships and partnerships with dominant customers␣– characterized by high levels of buyer–seller inter-dependence and forms of collaborative partnership. Observation suggests that the perceived moral intensity of␣these relationships is commonly low, notwithstanding the underlying principles of benefiting the few (large, strategic customers) at the expense of the many (smaller customers and other stakeholders), and the magnitude of the consequences of concessions made to large customers, even though some such consequences may be unintended. Dilemmas exist also for executives implementing strategic account relationships regarding such issues as information sharing, trust, and hidden incentives for unethical behaviour. We propose the need for greater transparency and senior management questioning of the ethical and moral issues implicit in strategic account management.
Keywords buyer–seller relationships  ethical dilemmas  governance  interorganizational relationships  marketing  moral dilemmas  selling  strategic account management  unintended consequences
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Donna J. Wood (2002). Business Citizenship. Business Ethics Quarterly 12 (2):155-187.

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