Past research on b2c relationships has typically focused on unidimensional constructs of satisfaction, trust, and commitment, ignoring underlying psychological dimensions. Although some studies have examined cognitive and affective dimensions of these relational constructs, dual sequential effects in relationship formation have not been investigated. This study proposes and finds (in the context of online group chat) that parallel cognitive and affective sequences of relationship formation take place, thus expanding scholarly understanding of underlying psychological processes and offering marketing practitioners two different ways to build relationships with consumers. The proposed dual-sequence relational framework further advances theory by shedding light on counterintuitive findings in past research. The study also supports the proposed moderating effects of employee communication style, such that sequential effects of cognitive (affective) relational constructs are stronger with a task-oriented (socially oriented) employee, thus offering insights to practitioners in hiring and training employees to match specific organizational goals for building relationships with consumers.
Dabholkar, P., van Dolen, W. M., & de Ruyter, J. C. (2009). A Dual-Sequence Framework for B2C Relationship Formation: Moderating Effects of Employee Communication Style in Online Group Chat. Psychology & Marketing, 26(2), 145-174. https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.20265