Title: Purchasing of knowledge-intensive business services: a case study of relevant factors

Authors: Eija-Liisa Heikka; Mekhail Mustak

Addresses: Department of Marketing, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Oulu, FI-90014, Finland ' Department of Marketing and International Business, Turku School of Economics, Turku, FI-20014, Turun yliopisto, Finland

Abstract: Purchasing of knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) is often a critical decision for business customers as it can affect their businesses in numerous ways, such as creating a competitive advantage or fulfilling financial and regulatory objectives. Hence, customers tend to make careful and systematic decisions to purchase these services, and it is both theoretically and managerially important to know the factors that influence these decisions. However, the extant research has not shed sufficient light on those factors. The purpose of this study is thus to explore the factors that influence customers' KIBS purchasing decisions. A qualitative case study is used to gain a multidimensional understanding of the issue. The findings reveal that several factors influence customers' purchasing decisions: convincing value propositions, perception of service quality, perception of potential risks, potential for customisation, quality customer relationships, individual preferences, geographic proximity and availability of information. The findings are discussed further, and the implications and limitations of the study are noted.

Keywords: service purchasing; knowledge-intensive business services; KIBS; supplier selection; business-to-business; B2B services; case study; value propositions; perceived quality; service quality; risk perceptions; customisation; customer relationships; individual preferences; geographic proximity; information availability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPM.2017.080909

International Journal of Procurement Management, 2017 Vol.10 No.1, pp.21 - 37

Received: 10 Jun 2015
Accepted: 11 Oct 2015

Published online: 12 Dec 2016 *

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