Purchasers as boundary spanners: Mapping purchasing agents' persuasive orientations

Jukka Vesalainen*, Anni Rajala, Joakim Wincent

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This study introduces a framework of persuasive communication that is central to understanding how individual purchasers behave as boundary spanners to manage customer–supplier relationships. Drawing on the institutional theory and multiple governance approach, we assume authoritarian, competitive, and relational behavioral orientations reflect institutional logics at an individual level. Purchasers' boundary-spanner behavior thus manifests itself as individual purchasers' rhetorical orientations. In a sample of 349 purchasers, we find support for the existence of four configurations of orientations: competitive/authoritarian, relational, comprehensive, and neutral. A subsequent follow-up study of 20 interviews with the most typical representatives of each group suggests storylines that reflect the background and logic of different persuasive styles. The findings highlight purchaser persuasive orientation as one facet of a purchaser capability set making it possible to cope with the transactional versus relational paradox in buyer–seller relationship contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalIndustrial Marketing Management
Pages (from-to)224-236
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 26.07.2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Boundary-spanning
  • Customer–supplier relationships
  • Persuasion
  • Rhetoric
  • Mixed method


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