Understanding configurations of relational attractiveness of the customer firm using fuzzy set QCA

Zsófia Tóth, Christoph Thiesbrummel, Stephan C. Henneberg, Peter Naudé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study introduces the concept of relational attractiveness of the customer (RAC) which is defined as the attitude of the supplier towards the customer firm in order to maintain and/or to improve an existing business relationship. Social Exchange Theory explains relational exchanges in business markets and provides a configurational logic for RAC. Based on an empirical investigation of the RAC perception of senior managers from 617 supplier companies, this study explores conditions of relational customer attractiveness, including financial and non-financial benefits, costs, trust and dependency. Using a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA), the study uncovers different configurations of these conditions that lead to high or low relational customer attractiveness. The results show that financial benefits are present in all configurations leading to high relational customer attractiveness, but other conditions also need to be present. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-734
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • Customer attractiveness
  • Fuzzy sets
  • Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA)
  • Relational attractiveness
  • Relationship development


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