Mechanisms and Ethics of Sustainable Exchange: Interaction and Sympathy in Relationship Marketing


Smith (1896) argued that societal virtues arise through the function of reputational sanctions as self-interested entities engage in repeated transactions. Relationship marketing research, on the other hand, examines sustained business relationships mediated by trust and commitment to the exchange partner. Modern consumers with freedom of choice engage in repeated transactions of general consumer goods without recourse to the coercive power of sanctions or authority. The nature of the actions and the subject matter of such transactions are likely to differ from Smith's assumptions. This study conducts a theoretical examination of the mechanism of interaction and trading entities in persistent exchange using a model that elaborates on social exchange theory (Blau, 1964). Economic exchange is an equivalent exchange with no imbalance between trading entities. In other words, there is no opportunity for persistence. However, the seller considers the consumer's act of selecting a specific product from the myriad choices on the market to be the source of the provision of reward. From the response to this conferral, an incidental social exchange is triggered, and unspecified obligations of return alternate between the transacting entities. A social bond of trust and mutual attachment can be formed by sustaining a voluntary, non-coercive exchange relationship between entities. Consumers who repeatedly purchase within this relationship are not simply engaging in self-interested homo-economicus, but may be subjects with sympathy as described by Sen (1977) since they consider the welfare of the seller their own well-being.

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Yohei Iwanaga, Kyushu Sangyo University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2023
Stream: Business and Management Ethics

This paper is part of the ACERP2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Iwanaga Y. (2023) Mechanisms and Ethics of Sustainable Exchange: Interaction and Sympathy in Relationship Marketing ISSN: 2187-476X – The Asian Conference on Ethics, Religion & Philosophy 2023 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon