Most studies on the role of IT for economic exchange predicted that under a given set of exchange attributes buyers would choose a certain mode of relationship with suppliers. Our study of an online IT services marketplace revealed that buyers do not have a single, uniformly preferred type of relationship, but rather maintain a portfolio of relationships. Furthermore, different buyers arrange their portfolios of exchange relationships in different ways. We found four clusters of buyers' portfolios of relationships labeled Transactional buyers, Recurrent buyers, Small diversifiers and Large diversifiers, that differ in their usage of auction or negotiation mechanism, their supplier relations as well as their usage of preferred suppliers. Our results thus paint a richer picture of how buyers organize their supplier networks online.

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Keywords IT services, buyer–supplier relationships, online markets, portfolios of relationships, reverse auctions
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Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Decision Support Systems
Radkevitch, U.L, van Heck, H.W.G.M, & Koppius, O.R. (2009). Portfolios of buyer–supplier exchange relationships in an online marketplace for IT services. Decision Support Systems, 47(4), 297–306. doi:10.1016/j.dss.2009.05.007