Authenticity in B2B Relationships: Do Channel Members Really Care?


Author: Terry Beckman, Athabasca University, Canada
Published: March 2017

Citation: Beckman, T. (2017). Authenticity in B2B Relationships: Do Channel Members Really Care? IAFOR Journal of Business & Management, 2(1).


According to a significant amount of research, consumers take the notion of authenticity very seriously in their consumption decisions of such things as products, services, relationships and service encounters. On the other hand, business to business (B2B) transactions are thought to be more formal, following set processes, and more rational. However, as people are at the core of B2B transactions, one would expect to see some impact of authenticity on those transactions as well. As authenticity is almost completely absent from the B2B literature, using an interpretive thematic analysis this paper analyzed the relationships between distributors and their suppliers, and found that authenticity was a factor in those relationships. Furthermore, it was found that consistency, promises, a balanced presentation and spontaneity were important cues used by distributors in evaluating the authenticity of their suppliers. From this research it is clear that the authenticity theories are applicable and should be included in further B2B research.


authenticity, channels, distributors, buyer-seller relationships