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Industrial Marketing Management

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Research shows that the choice of relationship exit strategy by the instigator of exit can have significant negative consequences for the party that is being dropped. In this study we focus on what we coin as kind exit, where the risk of harm to the supplier as a result of the buyer's relationship termination is low. In line with current research, which is suggesting that the characteristics of a buyer-supplier relationship play a critical role in the instigator's choice of exit strategy, we examine the link between the buyer's perception of its relationship with the supplier and the manner in which the buyer-supplier relationship ends. We posit that this phenomenon is causally complex and context dependent, and as such, there will be multiple types of buyer-supplier relationships that will lead to a kind exit. To uncover these types, we examine 315 terminated buyer-supplier relationships in manufacturing and service sectors in the UK, employing fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). Our results show that contrary to extant literature, there is not one relationship type that leads to a kind exit; instead, we uncover four alternative equifinal configurations of relationship dimensions and two exogenous factors.


Accepted version. Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 84 (January 2020): 237-250. DOI. © 2020 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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