Investigating SME importer–foreign supplier relationship trust and commitment

Constanza Bianchi, Md Abu Saleh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The main purpose of this study is to examine the antecedents of SME importer trust and commitment to foreign supplier relationships in a Latin American emerging market economy. Insufficient consideration has been given in the literature to international buyer–supplier relationships and especially small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) importers. To address this gap in our knowledge, and drawing on the internationalization process and resource-based view of the firm, this study explores the findings of a study conducted with 155 Chilean SME importers, identifying the factors that drive their relationship trust and commitment to North and South American and Western European export manufacturers. The analysis revealed that importer–supplier cultural similarity positively affects knowledge and experience, and SME importers’ relationship trust. Furthermore, relative advantage positively significantly affects importer relationship commitment. Subsequently, knowledge and experience and relationship trust lead to SME importers being committed to importer–supplier relationships. Finally, metric and structural invariance tests suggest that the category of imports (industrial and consumer) does not emerge as an issue, but it does reveal that path relationships are different and stronger in the consumer SME importer context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-584
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Research
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Internationalization process
  • Latin American emerging market
  • Resource-based view
  • SME importer relationship


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