Tampere University of Technology

TUTCRIS Research Portal

Customer referencing as business actor engagement behavior – Creating value in and beyond triadic settings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-252
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number2
Early online dateJun 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The rising impact of customer engagement is increasingly evident in business markets. This paper studies customer referencing as an important manifestation of engagement behavior in the business-to-business (B2B) context. To extend extant research, which has thus far examined referencing almost exclusively from the seller's viewpoint, we study how referencing affects value creation in business networks. We explore resources contributed and gained though referencing and the resulting value outcomes for the entire reference triad (the seller, the reference customer, and the prospective buyer). Empirically, the paper draws on an extensive field study conducted in knowledge-intensive business service industries. The results explicate how customer referencing affects value creation within and beyond the triad, by i) enhancing or impairing actors’ internal processes; ii) strengthening or damaging relationships between the triad actors; and iii) facilitating exchange in their broader business network. The paper contributes to research on customer referencing by explicating its role in value creation on a network level. As one of the first studies on engagement in the B2B context, this paper contributes to the emerging actor engagement research by analyzing how influencing behavior operates in a business network. These insights can help firms to facilitate exchange in complex markets.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland