Abstract Most studies that explore the role of mutual information sharing in buyer-seller relationships focus on disclosure between parties; however, the literature largely ignores the content of such disclosures. This article investigates the role of disclosure content between buyers and sellers in generating important relationship outcomes. Data from qualitative interviews uncover the presence of both business and personal content in the information shared between a salesperson and their customers. Using matched survey responses from salesperson-customer dyads and secondary performance data, our work demonstrates that both types of disclosure content significantly affect relationship outcomes, with positive effects on customer-felt relationship empathy, trust, and sales performance. Further, we show that customer-felt relationship empathy has a stronger effect on trust in newer relationships, signaling the strength of customer-felt relationship empathy as a relationship-building tool. These findings empirically show that the content of disclosures between buyers and sellers is a critical driver of relationship performance.
Stephanie M. Mangus, Dora E. Bock, E. Jones
Journal of Business Research