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Fabrizio Zerbini is Associate Professor at ESCP Europe and Academic Director of the Executive Marketing Digital Certificate. He holds a Ph.D. in Management from Bocconi University. His areas of specialization include Marketing Strategy, B2B Marketing, Channel Management, and Markets Ethics.
He has published in international academic journals such as Journal of Business Ethics, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, The Accounting Review, and Italian academic journal such as Economia e Management, Mercati e Competitività, and Finanza Marketing e Produzione. He serves as board member in Industrial Marketing Management. He has won the 2007 Best Paper Award for Mercati and Competitività from the Marketing Society in Italy.
Dr. Zerbini has been visiting scholar at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He taught at Bocconi University, SDA Bocconi School of Management, and the Free University of Languages and Communication (IULM), Milan. He has been Director of the Master in Event and Exhibition Management at Bocconi University.
He has consulting or executive training experience with organizations such as Fiat Group and Fiat Industrial, Fiera Milano International, General Electric, Intesa SanPaolo, Italcementi, SDA Express Courier, PwC, Sony, and WPP.
Supplier Know-How Transfer Capacity in The Vendor Selection Process.
This study focuses on knowledge transfer during vendor selection. We argue that a supplier’s capacity to transfer know-how is critical to understand its performance in vendor selection processes. The study identifies two dimensions of the know-how transfer capacity: visualization – the visual representation explaining how the supplier knowledge applies to the manufacturer - and socialization – the direct interaction with the supplier’s technicians that conveys supplier knowledge. We use data from the equipment industry to empirically test our predictions. Findings show that both dimensions of know-how transfer capacity affect the responses from manufacturers at the consideration set and choice stages. These findings further develop the source perspective in knowledge transfer – or the impartation capacity – as a mirror of the recipient firm’s absorptive capacity.
Discontinuity and Inter-Organizational Change in the Transition to Buyer-Supplier Cooperation.
This paper addresses the role of discontinuity and inter-organizational change in the development of relationships between buyers and suppliers. Based on a longitudinal, multiple-case analysis of four cooperation projects between large manufacturers and retailers, we identify the limitations of extant theory on relationship development processes with respect to the initiation and maintenance of cooperation. We show that if expectations of relational compoundness are taken into consideration, relationships may be prone to adversarial interaction and firms may decline to cooperate despite economic incentives and the partner’s role performance in the past. Similarly, we show that cooperation may be abandoned if the relationship lacks residual social capital and future rent generation potential, notwithstanding evidence of relational rent generation and prior role performance. Additionally, we identify remedies that allow coping with initial adversarial behavior inertia and the cooperative behavior’s subsequent instability. Our findings offer important insights that advance the understanding of relationship developmental processes in buyer-supplier settings. We also theorize the role of discontinuity and compoundness in relationships characterized by a history of adversarial dealings but that want to make a transition to cooperation. Contrary to prior theory, we show that the long-term success of such a transition stems from making significant initial investments and inter-organizational changes rather than relying on a process of gradual and incremental reinforcement of cooperation.
Strategic Fit, Product Complexity and Relational Outcomes: Disentangling a Neglected Dimension of Market Relationships.
This study investigates the determinants of buyer and seller outcomes in the setting of channel dyads. We propose that products, actors and their fit are jointly affecting these outcomes. More specifically, we develop a framework that derives the notions of strategic fit and dyadic orientation from prior research on organizational orientations, and apply them at the firm- and dyadic-level of channel relationships. We also focus on the role of product complexity as an antecedent of buyer’s and seller’s outcomes. We use data from a sample of dyads in the travel and leisure industry to show that the organizational orientation of the buyer and the seller, their cultural similarity, and the complexity of the products exchanged in the channel affect the outcomes for the buyer and for the seller. These relationships are mediated by the buyer’s trust in the seller. Our findings make an important step to frame relationship marketing issues into the broader setting of organizational orientations and the role of their fit in the development of trust. Additionally, this study makes the point that relationships and products are fare more integrated that prior research considered in the last two decades.
Linking supplier’s and buyer’s corporate social orientations.
This study takes a dyadic perspective to understand how the corporate social orientations of buyers and suppliers interact and influence the formation and development of buyer-seller relationships within supply chains. Corporate social orientation is hereby identified as a meta-concept that integrates the corporate social dimensions of identity, responsibility and responsiveness. To investigate corporate social orientations on the two sides of a dyadic relationship this manuscript integrates two distinct research domain; first, we withdraw upon prior research disentangling key dimensions of corporate social orientation and CSR effects on buying behavior; second, we leverage upon relationship developmental research to frame corporate social orientations into supplier-buyer relationship formation and evolution. Building on these two main body of research the paper develops a theoretical framework where two main mechanisms of supplier-buyer socially-responsible interaction are identified. In an initial phase, when suppliers are aimed by persuasion goals, and strive to influence the formation of consideration sets and choices of buyers, it is argued that congruence mechanisms operate , by influencing organizational behavior and driving supplier selection. More specifically, a two-levels model of congruence is discussed, where firm-level congruence between inter-organizational communication and specific investments in the buyer-seller relationship, on the one hand, and corporate social orientation on the other hand, drive the formation of the dyadic relationship. Impression management derives are hereby considered as alternative mechanisms of relationship formation, which however hamper the continuation of the relationship in the long run. In a subsequent phase, socially-responsible identity and behavior are modeled as a function of the willingness to nurture and exploit synergic combinations fitting with stakeholders’ objectives. In this phase, the role of cultural complementarity, strategic fit, future orientation, and mutual responsiveness are considered to recursively drive and be driven by the joint-social responsibility which results from the dyadic interaction. This model is discussed against extant frameworks in relationship marketing, supply chain management integration, and organizational strategic orientations, by identifying the key contribution of an extension of the cultural view of organizational orientations to corporate social responsibility issues, and the role of congruence in allowing supplier-level performance consequences of specific investments in sustainability.