The Use of Western B2B Relationship Marketing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Derbyshire, Simon Anthony (2018) The Use of Western B2B Relationship Marketing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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The business opportunity presented by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to Western MNCs is significant, but so too are the challenges. In particular, relationship marketing in KSA represents a significant challenge for Western MNCs, largely as a result of the significant differences in national culture. This is especially the case where there is a reliance solely on the Western practices of Key Account Management (KAM). Nevertheless, there remains little understanding of why Western relationship marketing practices lack efficacy in this market in enabling Western MNCs to achieve their business objectives.

This DBA aims to develop a critical investigation into B2B relationships in KSA and develop a contextualised approach to KAM across the relationship development lifecycle. It introduces relationship marketing theory with its interdisciplinary roots of social exchange theory and cultural theory. Conducting international business is fundamentally about the management of culture and cultural differences between people from different countries. Yet, existing contributions overwhelmingly support a Western business model and the cultural and societal norms that exist within individualistic societies, thereby making it of limited utility and efficacy in a Saudi context. Notwithstanding this, the extant literature has been used as a framework to guide the development of a preliminary understanding of the context.

This DBA follows a pragmatic research setting, using a sequential mixed method approach. First, the propositions from the extant literature were validated using eleven repertory grid interviews analysed using content analysis. The analysis from these interviews allows for the hypotheses to be defined and underpins the second stage of primary data collection, namely an online survey instrument, which achieved an overall response rate of 29%. Findings from the survey reveal that the different relationship constructs play a more active, or passive role, at different stages in the relationship development lifecycle.

Resulting from this research, original contributions to practice, and supporting theory, are made in three areas: First, the skills, attributes and training needed by KA managers operating in a Saudi context; Second, the adaptations needed to KAM processes and procedures in ensuring their efficacy for the Saudi market, and Third, changes needed in the relationship between Saudi subsidiary and the MNC corporate HQ organisation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: N100 Business studies
N500 Marketing
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2019 16:56
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2022 09:30

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