On importer trust and commitment: A comparative study of two developing countries

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Purpose: Relationship trust and commitment are two key dimensions of international exchanges. Both have been extensively investigated from an exporter (as opposed to importer) perspective in developed country (as opposed to developing country) contexts. To address these gaps, this paper aims to develop a model of antecedents and outcomes of importer trust and commitment in two developing countries. Design/methodology/approach: The paper tests the proposed model using data from Chile and Bangladesh. Hypotheses are tested using structural equation modeling (SEM). Findings: SEM analysis reveals that most of the hypotheses are supported in both the Bangladeshi and Chilean context. The findings of this paper also suggest that the effects of importer transaction-specific investments on importer commitment are distinct in the Bangladeshi context. Practical implications: Practically, these results show that trust and commitment are essential for enhancing importer relationship performance in developing countries. Importer trust in a foreign supplier is effective when suppliers are competent and provide relatively superior facilities, as opposed to opportunistic proclivity. Importer commitment to a foreign supplier is stronger when importers perceive that the foreign supplier is not opportunistic, but is knowledgeable and experienced with the importer market, and they perceive that it is an advantage importing from that supplier. Cultural similarity between importers and foreign suppliers improves importer trust in both countries. However, importer commitment in Chile increases with importer transaction-specific investment, but this is not found to be the case in Bangladesh. Originality/value: This paper contributes to the importer-exporter exchange relationship literature by testing a model of antecedents and outcomes of importer trust and commitment. The tested model is one of few that considers developing country contexts and incorporates two novel antecedents of trust and commitment: importer knowledge and experience, and supplier resource competency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-86
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Marketing Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangladesh
  • Chile
  • Imports
  • Supplier relations
  • Trust


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