A "Cross-Cultural RELQUAL-Scale" in Supplier-Distributor Relationships of Sweden and the USA

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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to develop a cross-cultural RELQUAL-scale in supplier-distributor relationships in Sweden and the USA. Design/methodology/approach - The Swedish and US sampling frames consisted each of a random sample of 600 owners and managers of distribution firms of specialty tools and fasteners. A total of 161 usable surveys were returned from the US-survey, for a response rate of 27 percent, while 121 usable surveys were returned from the Swedish survey, for a response rate of 20 percent. An overall response rate of 24 percent was achieved across both countries. Findings - The paper provides support for the dimensional distinctiveness of cooperation, coordination, specific assets, satisfaction, trust, and commitment. Four of the dimensions are reflective of relationship quality or the "cross-cultural RELQUAL-scale" (cooperation, coordination, trust, and commitment) and relationship quality was found to be associated with relationship-satisfaction with suppliers. A test of metric invariance confirmed the RELQUAL-scale is appropriate for cross-cultural research. Research limitations/implications - Examining the tested in other industrial and cultural contexts and countries in other inter-organizational settings could help establish the generality of findings beyond Sweden and the USA and that beyond the context of the distributor-supplier relationship of fasteners and specialty tools. Practical implications - The "cross-cultural RELQUAL-scale" is of interest to business practice as it provides a structure of dimensions to be considered in the organizational effort of maintaining satisfactory levels of relationship quality with suppliers. Originality/value - The paper focuses on two different cultural contexts, which is an approach rarely seen in inter-organizational research. The focal constructs are frequently included in inter-organizational research, but have previously not been included in the same empirical study of RELQUAL.