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Determinants of successful logistics partnerships

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This paper aims to investigate and determine the variable that characterizes the most successful logistics partnerships, long-term satisfaction or trust, and the other factors for the variable holding the most influence on how effective these partnerships are. After presenting the theoretical definitions of trust, satisfaction and logistics partnerships, and to test the conceptual model proposed in this research, a field study was conducted using a questionnaire which was offered to companies operating in the agribusiness sector.

In an increasingly competitive scenario, building cooperative relationships and partnerships are a central element of supply chain management (Andarski,1998; Stank et al, 2001). SMEs attach particular importance to the management of these
relationships in order to access all the resources necessary to deliver value to the customer and security of supply to partners (Brulhart, 2002), and ultimately provide superior performance compared to competition.

The authors agree that trust ((Brulhart, 2002; Moore, 1998; Langfiled and Greenwood, 1998, Lambert et al, 1999) and satisfaction (Walton, 1996; Jagdish and Shamdasani, 1995; Mert, 2007) are two key factors to build relationships of long-term partnerships.

A literature review shows that research in logistics have rarely studied these two key variables simultaneously; they are often treated separately. Moreover, this research address these two concepts on a global level, they do not distinguish the dimensions of each variable.

The objective of this research is twofold: Firstly, we will try to delineate the variable that determines the most successful logistics partnership for long-term satisfaction or trust. The first work that explicitly examined the element of trust began in 1958 with the publication of an article "Trust and suspicion" by psychologist Deutsh (Deutsh, 1958). Since then, there has been a vast literature in social sciences, addressing this concept. Following field testing in psychology (Rotter, 1967; Lount and Murnighan, 2007),Sociology (Zucker, 1986) and organizational theory (Gulati, 1995; Bradach and Eccles,1989), marketing also became a forerunner in terms of the literature dedicated to it
In this context, the concept of trust was first introduced in the industry by the IMPG group (Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group).

It was subsequently applied to the problems of sales and trading (Shun and Ozanne 1985; Babriskie Browning, 1983), in the area of services (Berry, 1996; BenDapudi and Berry, 1997; Moorman, Deshpande and Zaltman, 1993; Zaltman and Deshpande, 1992), and in the study of relationships in marketing distribution (Andaleeb, 1992, Ganesan 1994; Morgan and Hunt, 1994). Researchers in logistics have viewed trust as problematic in their research.

Moreover, we note that customer satisfaction is at the heart of the marketing approach and is now the subject of a mixture of theoretical and conceptual discussions and empirical research on its antecedents and consequences. Early researches regarding satisfaction in marketing date from the seventies and were conducted in response to the resurgence of the consumer movement of the sixties in the United States. This first wave of research primarily adopted methods essentially descriptive, to the dissatisfaction of consumers. Satisfaction was then subjected to correlational approaches, model-based multi-attributes.

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