Paper info: CUSTOMER REFERENCING IN THE CONTEXT OF A CAPITAL EQUIPMENT BUYING DECISION
CUSTOMER REFERENCING IN THE CONTEXT OF A CAPITAL EQUIPMENT BUYING DECISION
ANDRE VILARES MORGAD and LUIS M. DE CASTRO
Place of Publication
The paper was published at the 32nd IMP-conference in Poznan, Poland in 2016.
The current literature on organizational buying behaviour presents customer references as a source of competitive advantage (Jalkala & Salminen 2010) and suggests that they have a positive impact on vendor reputation (Helm & Salminen 2010: Salminen & Möller 2003: Salminen 1997: Salminen & Möller 2006). It also suggests that customer references play an important role in increasing vendors‘ credibility and brand equity by raising their perceived competence. At the same time, customer references decrease buyer uncertainty and perceived risk. The literature on industrial buying does not have the empirical support necessary for a theory of customer referencing. This is because, when it comes to the study of customer reference practice, the potential customer‘s point of view is altogether absent (Morgado & de Castro 2015a). Empirical research has favoured the supplier as its unit of analysis while ignoring the other constituents of the reference triad: the reference customer and the potential customer. Empirical work that features the potential customer as the unit of observation remains an open research opportunity and would allow for a deeper understanding of both the customer reference network and its impact on the buying behaviour of industrial firms. This research aims to contribute to filling this gap by responding to the following question: ?How does customer referencing influence capital equipment buying decisions?? To achieve this aim, this study adopts as its theoretical framework the conceptual model offered by Morgado and de Castro (2015b), adapted to the context of a capital equipment buying decision. The main purpose of this research is to contribute to the literature on customer referencing by studying the case of EDP, which features the acquisition of a pump hydro energy storage system by an incumbent firm operating in the field of electrical power production. The study draws on empirical research and uses a case study research strategy. The data were gathered via interviews with key people and analysis of secondary data sources, such as corporate reports and other relevant documentation.