American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 2012, 2, 217-229 Published Online October 2012 (
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer
Satisfaction and Loyalty in the Context of a Developing
Gülşen Akman, Bahadır Yörür
Department of Industrial Engineering, Kocaeli University, Kocaeli, Turkey.
Received April 4th, 2012; revised May 4th, 2012; accepted June 4th, 2012
In the supply chain context, effective business to business (b2b) relationships are of core importance for companies to
enhance their own ability to be more competitive in the marketplace, to create competitive advantage and to achieve
mutual goals. Therefore, the focus of this research is customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and affecting factors of
satisfaction and loyalty in manufacturer/supplier relations in the b2b context. This paper defines dimensions of b2b re-
lationships between manufacturers and their suppliers, and then proposes effects of these dimensions on customer satis-
faction and loyalty. Study is performed in the metal industry in a developing country, Turkey. Collected data is ana-
lyzed by Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) Methodology, and finally results are presented and discussed.
Keywords: b2b Relations; Satisfaction; Loyalty; Structural Equation Modeling; Turkey
1. Introduction
Close and strong relationships between manufacturers
and their suppliers in business markets are getting more
and more important to gain a competitive advantage in
the market and to achieve business goals. Therefore, in
recent years, the purchasing/supply function has been
seen as a key strategic tool for firms to achieve their
competitive advantage and a strategic part of a value
chain that extends from the supplier to the end-customer
According to Skarmeas et al., strong relations with
suppliers provide to manufacturing companies to achieve
supply sustainability, minimize risks of new exchanges,
and help in inventory level and inventory cost reduction
[2]. Close relations with suppliers can evantauate in
shorter cycle times, less quality defects, reduced costs,
and streamlined processes [3].
Nowadays, from manufacturers’ perspective, custom-
ers have more impact on purchasing and bargaining
power. In this regard, manufacturers need to cooperate
with their suppliers to increase profitability and to maxi-
mize the productivity at the minimum cost [4]. Therefore,
today, manufacturer-supplier relationships are more and
more important to be competitive, productive and profit-
able. Proper management of supplier relationships com-
prises one require element of supply chain success [5].
Specifically, in emerging countries such as Turkey,
attention should be given to buyer-supplier relations to
survive in global and intensive competitive environments
and to compete with global rivals. Specifically, customer
satisfaction and loyalty are two key constructs in busi-
ness-to-business (b2b) relations. In this context, a para-
digm is acceptable, and a general theme of this paradigm
is the changing attention from short-term exchanges to
long-term relationships with key customers or key sup-
pliers [6]. Some firms maintain arm’s-length relation-
ships with their suppliers and use competition and sup-
plier switching as motivations to provide optimal per-
formance from their supply base. In a b2b environment,
suppliers need to understand the nature and circum-
stances of their customers due to the unique characteris-
tics of the customers acting as organizations [7]. When
the studies in the literature are investigated, it can be seen
that most of these studies were generally performed in
developed countries such as Norway, UK, Australia,
USA, Spain, and Japan. There is very little study carried
out in developing countries in the literature such as India.
For this reason, in order to make a contribution to liter-
ature from this point this study is carried out in a de-
veloping country, Turkey.
This study aims to add to the literature and provide a
picture of how dimensions of relationship influence cus-
tomer satisfaction and loyalty in a b2b context in a de-
veloping country. Thus this paper undertakes to enrich
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
in the Context of a Developing Country
the research focused on b2b relations as a multidimen-
sional concept defined by four components (trust, com-
mitment, communication, and also cooperation), and
their effects on customer satisfaction and loyalty. We use
the metal manufacturing industry in Turkey as a sample
to test our hypotheses and choose to survey small and
medium enterprises (SMEs) and measure their loyalty,
perceptions of satisfaction, trust, communication, com-
mitment, and cooperation. We explore the contribution of
dimensions of b2b relationship to measure of customer
satisfaction and customer loyalty, and investigate the b2b
relationship construct through the power of its four pro-
posed dimensions, trust, commitment, communication,
and cooperation.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. First, the
relevant literature is reviewed to provide some behavior
to each construct we propose in this study. Second, the
conceptual model and research hypotheses are developed.
Third, the research methodology is described. Collected
data is analyzed by Structural Equation Modeling (SEM);
and results are presented. Finally, the paper concludes
with a discussion and conclusions with managerial im-
plications in order to improve b2b relationship satisfac-
tion and enhance customer loyalty for b2b customers,
and provides the limitations of the research and sugges-
tions for future research.
2. Literature Research
In this study, a supplier is defined as “any company who
provides goods, materials, or services to a company to
convert them to a product”. A supplier often manufac-
tures storable items, and sells those items to a customer.
Customer/buyer is defined as “a manufacturer which
converts a product from one form to another” [8].
In the business research literature, inter-firm relation-
ships have attracted great attention over in the last dec-
ades. Specifically, increasing of interdependence be-
tween firms and their suppliers have been expanded the
importance of inter-firm relationships in the b2b context.
To develop a few but selective, stable and long term rela-
tionships between buyer/manufacturing firms and their
suppliers has been a main theme in the studies such as
Ganesan [9], Bello et al. [10], and Hewett et al. [11]. The
relationship with the supplier is considered as a partner-
ship, and it is valuable to the buyer firm as it can be a
source of competitive advantage and an important and
critical factor to develop and to maintain a sustainable
competitive advantage for the manufacturing firms [12,
13]. Buyer-supplier relationships are relations between
buyer and suppliers have also been emphasized with
themes such as partnership, outsourcing, strategic alli-
ances and supply-chain cooperation and collaboration [1].
According to Walter et al., the success or failure of a
supply-chain-alliance is determined by the level of com-
mitment, trust, and cooperation between its members
Selnes analyzed effects of competence, communica-
tion, commitment and conflict handling on trust and sat-
isfaction via enhancement and continuity of the relation-
ship in Norway [15]. Jonsson and Zineldin determined
critical variables such as communication, adaption, repu-
tation, coercive power, non-coercive power, cooperation,
relationship bonds, dependency, relationship benefits,
and then investigated their effects on satisfaction in
Swedish material/products dealers sector [16]. Dapiran
and Hogarth-Scott used dependence, power and coopera-
tion as dimensions of the relationship between food re-
tailer and their suppliers in UK and Australia [17]. Wo
and Ennew studied influences of atmosphere, adoption,
cooperation, service quality, customer satisfaction and
behavioral intention on relationship quality [18]. Tre-
vatanawong and Quazi (2006) investigated effects of
trust and power on cooperation with moderating effects
of distance and collectivism, individualism [19]. Vasu-
deven et al. studied influences of satisfaction and rela-
tional switching cost on commitment in Hong Kong and
Indian Manufacturing sector [20]. Trevatanawong et al.
studied rational constructs such as total interdependence,
trust, supplier commitment, cooperative norms and con-
flicts and their effects on relationship satisfaction in rela-
tionship phases of build-up, maturity and decline in im-
porters of Tai products in Australia [21]. Kingshott and
Pecotich researched effects of psychological contracts
and violation on trust and effects of trust on commitment
between Australian suppliers and distributors [22]. Rod-
riguez et al. studied effects of communication, coopera-
tion and conflict on satisfaction, effects of cooperation,
conflict and satisfaction on trust, effect of trust on per-
formance in Spanish food, chemistry, and plastic iron-
steal sectors [23]. Kabadayi and Ryu determined trust,
monitoring, information sharing and performance as cha-
racteristics of the relationship and determined influences
of trust, monitoring, and information sharing on supplier
performance in American textile, metal, steel, and elec-
tronic industries [24]. Chung et al. investigated effects of
trust, dependency, conflict and performance on customer
satisfaction in the context of retailer-buyer-supplier rela-
tions in Japan [25]. Svensson et al. examined Norwegian
manufacturer–supplier relationships and tested the meas-
urement and structural properties of a model where trust
and commitment are positive precursors to satisfaction
and satisfaction is a positive precursor to coordination,
cooperation, and continuity [26]. We sum up the litera-
ture of relationship dimensions, it seen that some dimen-
sions of buyer-supplier relationships were used more
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
in the Context of a Developing Country
frequently than others. For example, trust, cooperation,
dependency and commitment are most used dimensions.
Knowledge sharing, collaboration, autonomy, atmos-
phere, contribution, distance are rarely used dimensions
of relationship.
When the studies mentioned above are investigated, it
can be see that most of them were generally carried out
in developed countries such as USA, UK, Australia,
Spain, Japan etc. In the literature, there is a few study
performed in developing countries. Therefore, the study
is performed in a developing country, Turkey, and the
most used dimensions are selected for this research. In
this study, buyer-supplier relations is defined as buyer
firms’ perceptions of the supplier firm’s behavioral and
operational relationship characteristics such as supplier’s
trust, communication, cooperation, commitment. These
characteristics are called dimensions of buyer-supplier
relationships. Also these characteristics are increasing
customer satisfaction and expanding customer loyalty.
3. Concepual Model and Research
Based on the previous discussion and literature review,
the conceptual model is developed as shown in Figure 1.
The conceptual model positions relationships between
dimensions of buyer-supplier relations and customer sat-
isfaction, and additionally the model shows satisfaction
as a positive mediator between loyalty and dimensions of
b2b relations in a developing country, Turkey. All of the
paths are hypothesized to be positive in Figure 1 and the
specific hypotheses are discussed as follows.
In the b2b context, some evidence shows that rela-
tionship components influence customer satisfaction and
loyalty [7]. In the following, there are some prepositions
related with effects of relationships elements on customer
satisfaction and loyalty in the context of b2b relation-
ships. These elements are trust, communication, coopera-
tion and commitment. These elements are determined
according to characteristics of supplier- buyer relations in
Turkey. Listed below are seven hypotheses formulated to
Figure 1. Conceptual model of the study.
address customer satisfaction and loyalty issues identi-
fied by a synthesis of the existing body of research ex-
amined earlier in this paper.
Customer loyalty. Loyalty is a construct that captures
the essence of a business customer’s desire to continue
doing business with a given supplier in relation to others
in the evoked consideration set [27]. Creating a loyal b2b
customer base is about maintaining numbers of customer
overtime and it is also about developing the relationship
with business customers to maintain purchasing in the
future. If a supplier is equipped with the knowledge of
their business customers’ loyalty levels, it will be able to
figure how their efforts to maintain good relationships
can contribute to its profit levels [7]. In this study cus-
tomer loyalty is defined as a strong sense of loyalty to the
supplier, expecting of the supplier to be working with
firm for a long time and maintaining a long-term rela-
tionship with the supplier.
Customer satisfaction. In the context of inter-firm
relationships, satisfaction refers to a positive state result-
ing from the appraisal of all attributes of a firm’s work-
ing relationship with another firm. Customer satisfaction
is defined as a customer’s overall evaluation on the ex-
pected and perceived performances of the supplier. If the
perceived performance meets or exceeds the expectations
of the customer, the customer is satisfied; otherwise,
customer is dissatisfied [28]. Satisfaction with supplier
relationship is viewed as a positive opinions resulting
from the appraisal of all aspects of a firm’s working rela-
tionship with supplier. For many supplier firms, estab-
lishing and maintaining a long-term relationship with
satisfied buyers is critical and important to long-run sur-
vive. In b2b research, several authors show the existence
of a link between satisfaction and loyalty. For example,
Eriksson and Vaghult found that satisfied customers stay
with the firm. Their results show that as relationship sat-
isfaction increases, so does customer retention [29].
There is a strong link between satisfaction and loyalty
toward a supplier or product [30]. Heskett el al. proposed
that satisfaction is a key determinant to each level of
brand loyalty and it is an important variable in explaining
loyalty [31]. According literature customer satisfaction
has a significant and positive effect on customer’s atti-
tudes and future purchase intentions. In general cases,
developing individual relationship with business custom-
ers offers supplier a secure loyal customer base and op-
portunities to reach a high level of profitability. Because
of that business customers spend large amounts of money
in their purchase of products and services, managing and
maintaining loyal business customers can offer greater
income for a supplier [7]. These findings provide the
theoretical basis for our following hypothesis.
H1. Customer satisfaction increases buyers loyalty to
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
in the Context of a Developing Country
Trust. Trust is one of the most critical factors in
buyer-supplier relationships, and is an important element
in defining the strength of the relationship. The trust is
essential to sustain long-term relations, and it is defined
as the willingness to rely on an exchange partner in
whom one has confidence [32]. Gao et al. stated that,
“buyers’ trust to suppliers is established when buyers
believe in the suppliers’ willingness to keep their prom-
ises and their ability to deliver competent and need-sat-
isfying performance” [33]. When buyers perceive sup-
pliers to be benevolent and consistent, they become less
worried about being taken advantage of by the suppliers.
Trust plays an important role to improve supply chain
responsiveness [34]. The trust in the supplier firm’s hon-
esty, credibility, and benevolence may build up fair sat-
isfying interactions between the buyer and supplier, and
prevent conflicts from leading to dissatisfaction through
the recognition of supplier firm good faith [25]. When a
manufacturer’s trust in a supplier is high, the manufac-
turer has a great desire to ensure the relationship’s suc-
cess. Therefore, the manufacturer is willing to invest
time, effort, and money in the relationship [10]. As a
result, satisfaction from supplier increases.
H2. Buyer trust to supplier influences customer satis-
faction positively
Cooperation. Cooperation can be determined as the
initiation and participation in collaborative arrangements
with its buyers and suppliers in a firm’s environment [35].
Cooperation from buyer perspectives defined as that
firms’ perceptions of degree to which suppliers work
together to solve problems, establish strategic directions
and achieve their reciprocal goals [36]. From a b2b per-
spective, cooperation contains the coordination tasks
which are undertaken jointly and singly to pursue mutual
goals and activities undertaken to develop and maintain
the relationship [18]. Strong partner relationship is con-
sistently thought as crucial to successful supply chain
collaboration. It increases the cooperative actions like
that firms exchange critical information and work to-
gether to plan and implement new supply chain strategies.
Thus companies share the risks and rewards along the
way [37,38]. For b2b relationships, specifically, cus-
tomer satisfaction has been found to lead to desirable
outcomes such as cooperation and long term orientation.
Anderson and Narus [39], Ganesan [40], Mohr and
Speakman [41] demonstrated a positive relationship be-
tween cooperation and satisfaction. The firms’ coopera-
tive efforts cause to a greater efficiency and to the
achievement of higher levels of customer satisfaction [5].
Therefore an effective cooperative relationship affects
customer satisfaction.
H3. Cooperation influences customer satisfaction po-
Communication. Communication is the exchange of
information between supplier and customer [15]. Effec-
tive communication has been defined as the formal and
informal sharing of meaningful and timely information
between a buyer and a supplier and it has been closely
linked with performance outcomes [23]. Communication
efforts between buyer and supplier involve many inter-
organizational contacts and exchange of information
takes place frequently and informally. Part of the open
communication between manufacturing companies and
their suppliers is that manufacturing companies should
provide suppliers with feedback about the results of their
evaluation of suppliers and the mistakes that supplier
done [13]. Open communications means that suppliers
communicate openly, sincerely, and substantively with
customers formally or informally [42]. Then communi-
cation increases customer satisfaction. The extant litera-
ture suggest to importance of communication in the in-
creasing a supplier performance and customer satisfac-
tion. For example, numerous authors such as, Anderson
and Narus [39] and Morgan and Hunt [43], emphasize
the importance of communication in developing and
maintaining a b2b relationship. Selnes stated that “be-
cause satisfaction is an evaluation of an outcome com-
pared to some norm, communication is expected to be an
important source for satisfaction because it can lead to a
shared understanding of performance outcome and ex-
pectations” [15]. Therefore communication influences
buyer’s satisfaction from supplier.
H4. Communication influences customer satisfaction
Commitment. Commitment can be defined as a part-
ner’s desire to develop a stable relationship and a will-
ingness to make short-term dedication to maintain the
relationship [44]. It means the degree to which suppliers
feel obligated to maintain working with the buying firm
[36]. According to Moorman et al., commitment is de-
fined as the “enduring desire to maintain a valued rela-
tionship” with partners such as suppliers and customers
[32]. For this study, supplier’ commitment is defined as
the manufacturing firms’ perception of the degree to
which supplier firm feels pledged to continue business
with the buying firm. This contains loyalty of suppliers
to the buying firm, willingness to make investment in the
buying firm’s business and reliance on the stability of a
long-term relationship. It is resulted in increased cus-
tomer satisfaction. Jap and Ganesan [44] found that com-
mitment of firm to work together with suppliers en-
hances the perception of agreement, along with the pos-
sibility of providing better quality products, and thus it
results in higher partner satisfaction. Liu et al. reveals the
complex relationship between calculative commitment
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
in the Context of a Developing Country
and economic satisfaction [45]. Commitment helps the
supply chain channels to operate efficiently and to im-
prove the economic conditions of supply chain members,
and thus it helps to have a close relationship with satis-
faction. Farrelly and Questar expressed that “It seems
logical to argue here that trust and commitment are key
factors of satisfaction, a more general concept and a
closer determinant of their decision to extend, renew, or
terminate the sponsorship relationship”[46]. Relation-
ship between a manufacturer and its supplier should pre-
sent evidence that a high level of commitment results in
higher level of satisfaction with the relationship.
H5. Commitment of supplier influences customer sat-
isfaction positively
4. Methodology and Research Design
4.1. Sampling Frame
This research was performed in the metal manufactur-
ing industry in Kocaeli in Turkey. Metal industry thrives
on strong customer-supplier relationships. Because of the
capital-and process-intensive nature of metal manufac-
turing, most manufacturers require reliable suppliers.
This will help their scheduling and productivity. Besides,
metal manufacturers themselves produce capital goods
which require capital goods as inputs. Thus, the sector is
such that customer and suppliers often have to relate
Metal industry incorporates many different manufac-
turing, and it includes all kinds of construction materials,
hand tools, kitchen tools manufactured from ferrous and
non-ferrous metal materials. It also contains activities
forging, pressing, covering and processing all kinds of
metal [47]. Metal industry is an important intermediate
goods manufacturer sector in Turkey. Relationships be-
tween suppliers and customers are developing in the sec-
tor. Some processes traditionally performed by customers
are performed by suppliers anymore. For example, an
input used for manufacturing a refrigerator is demanded
as sliced, formed and painted by customers [48]. There
are 1843 firms which are members of Kocaeli Chamber
of Industry. 293 of these firms are performing in the
metal industry in Kocaeli. 78.9% of these firms are small
sized enterprises, 15.4% of them are medium sized, and
5.7% of them are big sized [49].
4.2. The Characteristics of the Sample
For the aims of the study, a questionnaire was devel-
oped. The questionnaire consists of two parts. First part
includes general information about characteristics of the
firms and respondents. Second part consists of 16 ques-
tion related with b2b relationships, satisfaction and loy-
alty. These 16 questions are developed based on previous
measures in the literature. Data was collected from buy-
ers with the referred as a main supplier performing in the
metal industry. An e-mail survey was conducted. Firstly,
293 questionnaires were sent via e-mail to managers of
manufacturing firms performing in Metal industry in
Kocaeli region in Turkey. One month later, after having
being sent e-mails, a reminder e-mail was sent to manag-
ers of the firms. A total of 175 questionnaires was col-
lected, in which, 7 questionnaires were ineffective be-
cause they are incomplete. Therefore, a total of 168 (57%)
effective questionnaires were collected. Some character-
istics of firms and respondents are presented in Table 1.
Most of the firms are SME (27% + 38% + 14% + 17% =
96%) according to total employee number.
Most of the firms are small sized (27% + 38% = 65%).
14% + 17% = 31% of the firms are medium sized, and
4% of them are big sized. 19% of the firms have per-
formed for less than five years. 49% of the firm have
performed for less than 15 years and more than five years.
31% of them have performed for more than 15 years.
4.3. Measures and Reliability Test
All measurement items were either adapted from previ-
ous research because of that previously tested and vali-
dated, or developed specifically for this study. Table 2
contains detailed measurement items for each construct
and their sources. Overall, all constructs in the model
were measured with multiple-item scales. The guideline
Table 1. Some characteristics of companies.
Item QTY%
01 - 25 45 27
26 - 50 64 38
51 - 100 23 14
101 - 250 29 17
251 - 500 5 3
501 and upper 2 1
Total number of employee
Total 168100.0
0 - 2 5 3
2 - 5 27 16
6 - 10 49 29
11 - 15 34 20
16 - 20 24 14
21 and upper 29 17
Age of the company (year)
Total 168100.0
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
in the Context of a Developing Country
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Table 2. Measurement items.
Item Sources
Tr1. We believe that this supplier care themes important for us Morgan and Hunt [43]
Tr2. Generally speaking, this supplier is trustworthy. Ganesan [40].
Tr3. When making important decisions, this supplier considers
our best interests as well as its own. Humphreys et al. [54]
Co1. We are in a cooperation with this supplier in design facilities
Co2. Our firm tells this supplier openly on our strategic plans and goals
Co3. This supplier often shares confidential information with our firm.
Prahinski and Benton [36]
Com1. There is an open communication between our firm and supplier.
Com2. This supplier is accessible to communication
Lancastre and Lages [55]
Humphrey et al. [54]
Cm1. This supplier is willingness to make long term investments that provide utility to us
Cm2. Our relationship with the supplier is a long-term partnership. Commitment
Cm3. This supplier is willingness to dedicate all resources to satisfy our firm.
Lancastre and Lages [55]
Humphreys et al. [54]
Sa1. We are fairly satisfied with business relationship with the supplier
Customer Satisfaction
Sa2. We are pleased with what this supplier does for us.
Carter [56]
Yılmaz et al. [57]
Lo1. We have a strong sense of loyalty to the supplier.
Lo2. If we had to do it all over again, we would still choose to use this supplier
Customer Loyalty
Lo3. We expect this supplier to be working with us for a long time.
Ganesan [40]
Yılmaz et al. [57]
Lancastre and Lages [55]
is to use well-validated measures reported in previous
research. All research variables are measured in accor-
dance with the seven-point Likert scale, with “1” means
that the degree of agreement is very low, while with “7”
means that the degree of agreement is very high.
Moreover, the survey instrument was tested for its re-
liability. The summary statistics (means and standard
deviations), Cronbach alpha values and factor loadings
values are presented in the Table 3. Internal consistency
as indicated by Cronbach’s alpha is the most common
test for scale reliability found in the literature. Cron-
bach’s alpha values of 0.7 or higher are considered to be
acceptable for the scales [50]. Cronbach’s alpha was
calculated for each of the six constructs. The all values
exceeded Nunnally’s recommended standard. Coeffi-
cients of Cronbach alpha of all constructs were higher
than 0.7. They ranged from 0.710 to 0.916 as shown in
Table 3. This indicated that all measurements used in
this study have an acceptable reliability.
5. Findings
5.1. Measurement Model
Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) is used to investi-
gate relations because the variables are not directly able
to observe and they are latent variables. SEM is a multi-
variate statistical analysis approach used to explain rela-
tionship between latent variables by means of correlation
between observed variables. SEM approach is performed
at two stages as measurement model and structural model.
While measurement model measures ability that ob-
served variables represent latent variables, structural mo-
del is used for explaining relationship between struc-
tures (latent variables). Observed variables are defined as
indicators used for measuring latent variables, and they
are measured directly. Latent variables are variables that
are not directly observed but are rather inferred from
observed variables [51].
Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) is named as mea-
surement model, and results of CFA give an idea that
each observed variable is good representative of latent
variable which it belongs. Further, CFA shows validity
of the measurement model as a whole by means of
goodness-of-fit statistics. Using CFA before searching
relationship between latent variables is important for that
estimated values provided for the measurement model is
kept constant within structural model that will be tested,
as well as for substituting that measurement model is
acceptable [52].
In SEM studies, analyses are performed by using cor-
relation or covariance matrices derived from the raw data
instead of the raw data. In analyzing the measurement
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
in the Context of a Developing Country
Table 3. Means, standard deviations, and reliability test.
Deviation Cronbach’s α Factor
Tr1 5.68 1.27 0.916 0.845
Tr2 5.76 1.30 0.920
Tr3 5.83 1.24 0.765
Co1 5.15 1.82 0.788 0.755
Co2 4.72 1.85 0.827
Co3 4.64 1.76 0.822
Com1 4.41 1.92 0.710 0.800
Com2 3.99 1.95 0.870
Cm1 4.18 2.05 0.771 0.775
Cm2 4.89 1.78 0.854
Cm3 4.79 1.82 0.798
Sa1 5.77 1.33 0.890 0.905
Sa2 5.61 1.38 0.765
Lo1 5.38 1.52 0.843 0.895
Lo2 5.52 1.50 0.840
Lo3 5.98 1.28 0.766
model, because of continuous and normally distributed
data structure, covariance matrices of the observed vari-
ables are utilized, and Maximum Likelihood method is
preferred [53]. Path diagram of the measurement model
consists of 6 latent variables and 16 observed variables
loaded to these latent variables. Path diagram of the mea-
surement model is presented in Figure 2.
Here, Trust, Cooperation, Communication Commit-
ment, Satisfaction and Loyalty are latent variables. Three
observed variables (Tr1, Tr2 and Tr3) loaded to Trust,
three observed variables (Co1, Co2 and Co3) loaded to
Cooperation, two observed variables (Com1 and Com2)
loaded to Communica tion, three observed variables (Cm1,
Cm2 and Cm3) loaded to Commitment, two observed
variables (Sa1 and Sa2) loaded to Satisfaction , and three
observed variables (Lo1, Lo2 and Lo3) are loaded to
According to results of CFA presented in Table 4, the
measurement model (χ2 (89) = 134.70, p = 0.145 > 0.05)
is appropriate and acceptable as a whole. As shown in
Table 4, goodness-of-fit statistics of the measurement
model produced acceptable values. Goodness of fit index
(GFI) and Comparative fit index (CFI) are respectively
0.91 and 0.97. AGFI corrected value of GFI according to
complexity of the model is 0.86.
Other test statistics produced with regard to if the
model suit to data or not is expected cross validation in-
dex (ECVI). Logic of this statistic is that it compares the
model which will be tested with interdependence model
and specifically saturated model. Interdependence model
shows situation that all relationships are limited to zero.
Also saturated model, on the contrary, shows situation
that all relationships in the model are described. It is ex-
pected that ECVI value produced for the model is lower
than ECVI value produced for the saturated model. ECVI
value for the model is 1.37, and ECVI value for the satu-
rated model is 1.63.
5.2. Structural Model
After the measurement model produces appropriate val-
ues, structural model analysis that hypotheses between
latent variables are tested. The structural model is pre-
sented in Figure 3. The structural model (χ2 = 164.91, df =
103, p = 0.066 > 0.05) produces very good values with
regards to goodness-of-fit statistics (χ2/df = 1.60; RMSEA =
0.060; NFI = 0.96; CFI = 0.98; GFI = 0.89; AGFI = 0.85;
SRMR = 0.069).
When hypotheses results, that relationships between
latent variables are tested, are investigated, paths of co-
operation-satisfaction satisfaction (estimate = 1.89, C.R. <
1.96) and communication-satisfaction (estimate = 0.45,
C.R. < 1.96) are found insignificant. Information show-
ing statistically significant levels of hypotheses is pre-
sented in Table 5.
Because Hypotheses of H2 and H3 are insignificant,
these paths should be removed from the model or an al-
ternative model with these latent variables should be de-
veloped. To develop an alternative model, either the lit-
erature or mediation tests can be utilized.
Latent variables are variables which are related with
each other but independent, and they are structures be-
lieved to be in theoretical world. At stage of alternative
model development, therefore, investigation of correla-
tion level between latent variable is importantt in order to
develop a model supported by data. Correlations between
latent variables are presented in Table 6, and it is seen
that relationship between communication and satisfaction
is insignificant. Therefore H3 hypothesis is statistically
insignificant and it is rejected.
While developing an alternative model, correlation be-
tween latent variables as well as mediation test should be
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
in the Context of a Developing Country
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Figure 2. Path diagram of the measurement model.
Table 4. Result of measurement model.
Latent Variable Observed Variable Std Factor Loading Std ErrorCritical Ratio R2
Trust Tr1 0.88 0.079 14.09 0.77
Tr2 0.87 0.081 13.97 0.76
Tr3 0.91 0.075 15.16 0.84
Cooperation Co1 0.68 0.13 9.27 0.46
Co2 0.81 0.13 11.74 0.65
Co3 0.74 0.12 10.46
Communication Com1 0.80 0.20 7.74 0.64
Com2 0.52 0.17 5.79
Commitment Cm1 0.52 0.16 6.82 0.27
Cm2 0.88 0.11 13.76 0.78
Cm3 0.85 0.12 13.03
Satisfaction Sa1 0.87 0.082 13.98 0.76
Sa2 0.92 0.083 15.39
Loyalty Lo1 0.86 0.097 13.27 0.73
Lo2 0.84 0.083 12.84 0.70
Lo3 0.72 0.11 10.38 0.52
Goodness-of-fit statistics
χ2(89) = 134.70, p = 0.145, χ2/df = 1.51, GFI = 0.91, AGFI = 0.86, CFI = 0.97, RMSEA = 0.055.
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
in the Context of a Developing Country
Figure 3. The structural model.
Table 5. Result of measurement model.
Hypothesis Hypothesized path Path coefficient Critical Ratio Results
H1 Trust Satisfaction 0.72 11.22 Supported
H2 Cooperation Satisfaction 0.25 1.89 Not
H3 CommunicationSatisfaction 0.04 0.45 Not
H4 Commitment Satisfaction 0.51 6.09 Supported
H5 Satisfaction Loyalty 0.83 13.92 Supported
Table 6. Correlations between latent variables.
1 2 3 4 5 6
Satisfaction (1) 1
Loyalty (2) 0.84** 1
Trust (3) 0.86** 0.76** 1
Cooperation (4) 0.50** 0.60** 0.55** 1
Communication (5) 0.20 0.35** 0.23* 0.67** 1
Commitment (6) 0.75** 0.57** 0.54** 0.70** 0.37** 1
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed); *Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
examined. During development of an alternative model,
the theoretical reasons for the changes made to the model
must be put out.
In the current model, satisfaction variable is a media-
tion variable between exogenous variables (trust, coop-
eration, communication, commitment) and latest latent
variable of Loyalty. Therefore, effects of four exogenous
variables are transferred indirectly through satisfaction to
Because paths from Cooperation and Communication
to Satisfaction are insignificant, relationships of these
two variables with loyalty should be review. Therefore,
direct paths from these two variables to loyalty are drawn
and then it is researched if there are direct effects of
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
in the Context of a Developing Country
cooperation and communication, supported by data set,
on Loyalty. Thus the model is retest. At the end of the
analyses direct effect of cooperation on loyalty also
found as insignificant. But when effect from communica-
tion to loyalty is added to model as direct effect, all paths
within the model are found as statistically significant,
and at the end, the model is transformed to an acceptable
model with regards to goodness-of-fit values.
Alternative model created as a result of mediation tests
is presented in Figure 4. As shown in Figure 4, effects
of Trust, Cooperation, and Commitment on Loyalty are
transported via Satisfaction. But Communication has a
direct effect on Loyalty.
Produced goodness of fit statistics show that provided
alternative model is supported by the data. Goodness-
of-fit index (GFI) is found as 0.93; Adjusted Goodness-
of-fit index (AGFI) is found as 0.89; normed Chi-Square
(χ2/df) is found as 1.52; comparative fit index (CFI) is
found as 0.96, and root-mean-square error of approxima-
tion (RMSEA) is found as 0.056. Summary information
related structural model is presented in Table 7.
6. Discussion
This paper investigates manufacturer—supplier relation-
ships in metal manufacturing industry in Turkey and tests
the measurement and structural features of a model
where trust, cooperation and commitment are positive
precursors to satisfaction; satisfaction and communica-
tion is a positive precursor to loyalty. The models have
acceptable fits, validity, and reliability of both the meas-
urement and structural properties. Furthermore, the re-
sults support four hypothesized relationships in the con-
ceptual model. But communication is not precursor to
satisfaction; it is a positive precursor to loyalty. There-
fore the results don’t support one hypothesized relation-
In this study, selected dimensions are actually most
studied in the literature. This could diminish the potential
contribution of the study. But, while most of the studies
about b2b relations, satisfaction and loyalty were gener-
ally performed in developed countries, this study is car-
ried out in an emerging country. Therefore, the most im-
portant contribution of this research is to investigate
buyer-supplier relationships in an emerging country, Tur-
The outcome of the study includes a significant posi-
tive relationship between trust, commitment and cus-
tomer satisfaction, and a significant relationship between
cooperation and satisfaction, as well as an indirect rela-
tionship (via customer satisfaction) between trust, com-
mitment, cooperation and loyalty, a direct relationship
between communication and loyalty, a direct relationship
between satisfaction and loyalty. These findings are use-
ful in understanding the subjects of buyer-supplier rela-
tions, customer satisfaction and loyalty. Significant rela-
tionship between cooperation and satisfaction is consis-
tent with studies such as Narus [39], Ganesan [40], Mohr
and Speakman [41]. Also, as consistent with the studies
such as Hesket el al. [31], Rauyren and Miller [7], Selnes
and Gonhaug [30] satisfaction has positive and signify-
cant effect on loyalty. As a result, this study makes a
contribution to both theory and practice in the field of
Figure 4. Alternative (Final) structural model.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Effects of Business to Business Relations on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
in the Context of a Developing Country
Table 7. Result of final structural equation model.
Estimate S.E. C.R. P
Trust Satisfaction 0.72 0.062 11.880.000
Cooperation Satisfaction 0.24 0.060 2.90 0.008
Commitment Satisfaction 0.51 0.068 6.44 0.000
Communication Loyalty 0.21 0.052 2.96 0.005
Satisfaction Loyalty 0.79 0.110 12.940.000
S.E.—Standard Error (estimate of the standard error of the covariance); C.R.—
Critical Ratio (t values).
b2b relationship. Also, the study tests the measurement
and structural effects of the proposed conceptual model
on the behalf of other researchers. According to Farrelly
and Questar [46] trust and commitment are key factors of
satisfaction. Findings of this study, positive and signifi-
cant effects of trust and commitment on customer satis-
faction, support this situation. Contrary to the expected
mediation by satisfaction, direct effect of communication
on loyalty can be of particular interest especially in the
context of a developing country. Also the study shows
results of managerial attention. Specifically, managers
would utilize the knowledge that trust and commitment
are a key factor for customer satisfaction and communi-
cation is very important for customer loyalty.
Despite the contributions of this study it has some re-
search limitations. First, the sample in this study includes
only small and medium-sized firms in Turkey except
seven companies. This may decrease the generalization
ability of findings for larger firms and for firms in other
countries. Another limitation of the study that only one
individual from respondent firm provided information on
all of dimensions. Other limitation is the model contains
only four dimensions of relations, not cover all dimen-
sions. Also the study only tests the relationship between
manufacturers and suppliers, not all b2b relations. For
future research, validity of the findings should be invest-
tigated through studies in other industries and other
countries. Other dimensions of relationship should be
included to the model of the study such as knowledge shar-
ing, power, autonomy, conflict, adoption etc. Their ef-
fects should be investigated on the satisfaction and loy-
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