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Developing the project-based firm’s relationship with distributors in the delivery of complex systems

Research output: Other conference contributionPaper, poster or abstractScientific


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
EventIRNOP International Research Network on Organizing by Projects Conference 2017 - Boston University, Boston, United States
Duration: 11 Jun 201714 Jun 2017


ConferenceIRNOP International Research Network on Organizing by Projects Conference 2017
Abbreviated titleIRNOP
CountryUnited States
Internet address


Many project-based firms in industrial markets use distributors to save cost, utilize local expertise, and maximize coverage in their global markets. Distributors in business-to-business market are not only wholesalers but they are representatives of the focal firm’s business in defined regions. The purpose of this paper is to increase understanding on the role of distributors in delivering complex systems and highlight the importance of developing distributors’ capabilities in the delivery of complex systems. A qualitative case study was conducted in one project-based firm. The results show that the project-based firm and distributors have close collaboration in the different phases of system delivery. The results contribute by identifying different required distributor capabilities that are grouped into business, relational, marketing, and delivery capabilities. The manufacturer needs to develop the distributors’ capabilities to move them from a standard equipment seller to a partner that can take an active role in delivering complex systems to the customers. The development can be divided into actions independent from projects and those closely related to the different phases of system delivery.