Explaining Industrial Buyer Behavior


Bridging the Nexus between B2B and B2C Research, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 1 Jul 2021

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: Selma Kadić-Maglajlić


Call for Papers

Bridging the Nexus between B2B and B2C Research to Explain Industrial Buyer Behavior

Deadline for submission: 1 July 2021

Overview and purpose of the special issue

Researchers and practitioners assert that the B2B buying process has changed significantly in recent years (Matias, 2018; Wiersema, 2013). For example, Gartner finds that only 17% of the time spent on making buying decisions involves meetings with potential suppliers—a marked shift from just a few decades ago (Gartner, 2019). A key stakeholder in this process is the buyer—personnel who are primarily responsible for executing various tasks, activities, and decisions related to the buying function within an organization. Given their integral role, and the rapidly evolving buying function, the behavior of industrial buyers (and B2B buying phenomenon in general) remains a high research priority with significant implications for the B2B marketplace and “the highest potential for academic contributions” (Lilien, 2016, p.546). However, both academics and practitioners have noted that B2B buyer behavior research remains limited and somewhat out-of-touch (Grewal et al., 2015; Lilien, 2016; Wiersema, 2013).

While industrial marketing scholarship has a rich theoretical tradition of its own, B2B researchers have frequently relied on theories and concepts from consumer behavior and consumer psychology (referred to in combination hereafter as CB) to enrich their explanation of several B2B marketing phenomena that reflect similar gaps. For instance, Tuncdogan et al.’s (2019) guest editorial speaks to research that examines the psychological micro-foundations (e.g., personality traits) that influence B2B decision-making. Simultaneously, changing market dynamics, the proliferation of new distribution and communication channels, intensively expanding networks and alliances, have driven industrial firms to adopt marketing strategies comparable to those used by their business-to-consumer (B2C) counterparts (e.g., Mudambi, 2002).

Modern B2B research trends strongly indicate “a blurring of historical boundaries between  B2B and B2C marketing,” especially concerning buyer behavior (Ferguson & Mohan, 2019, p.1). Concepts originating from the B2C literature such as relationship quality (Casidy & Nyadzayo, 2019; Jiang et al., 2016), prestige sensitivity (Casidy et al., 2018), brand identification (He et al., 2018), purchase engagement (Nyadzayo et al., 2020), celebrity endorsements (Ferguson & Mohan, 2019), and others, along with their underlying CB-based theoretical foundations have recently been applied towards expressly understanding pertinent B2B buyer phenomenon.

These efforts have successfully yielded compelling new theoretical rationales in the B2B space. For instance, researchers have broadened the view of B2B buyer behavior, from being regarded as driven purely by rational decision-making processes, to include contemporary conceptualizations that rely on experiences, emotions, and other psychologically relevant touchpoints as fundamental explanatory mechanisms (Steward et al., 2019). Perhaps, one of the most robust attempts at applying such a cross-pollination of CB theories in explaining B2B buyers’ decision-making frameworks can be traced back to works that examine the influence of brands in B2B buying (e.g., Bendixen et al., 2004; Zablah et al., 2010), resulting in significant new contributions to both the theory and practice of B2B brand strategy (Wang & Hao, 2018).

In essence, these advances have paved the way for B2B scholars to reduce the perceived chasm that has historically existed between consumer and industrial marketing research. Notwithstanding, a renewed and pronounced push along these lines is likely to result in additional new insights that serve to broaden academics’ understanding of B2B buying phenomena and lead to normative practitioner insights that augment current management practices.

This special issue calls for empirical and conceptual studies that bridge the nexus between B2B and B2C research while augmenting our understanding of B2B buying behavior phenomena. Specifically, we encourage studies that advance our understanding of the relevance and applicability of CB concepts and theories in explaining B2B buyer behavior. Moreover, we are interested in those studies that apply influential theory, innovative methodologies, and analytical techniques towards deriving managerially relevant insights. Papers that do not pertain to B2B or industrial markets are not acceptable. Likewise, studies that only utilize B2C data to infer B2B buying behavior are inadmissible.

Potential contributions may address, but are not limited to the following topics:

Individual-level factors and B2B buyer behavior

  • Person-level psychological and behavioral decision-making theories, conceptual frameworks, and models that apply to B2B buyers.
  • Attitude formation and change among B2B buyers.
  • Role of learning in B2B buying.
  • Values, personality, emotional intelligence, and trait-level factors relevant to B2B buyers.
  • B2B buyer decision-making journey and their primary decision-making concerns in each stage of the buying process (i.e., implementation, evaluation, reassessment, and confirmation).
  • Cognitive biases and heuristics that influence B2B buyer decision making.

Firm-level factors and B2B buyer behavior

  • How do the unique and continually evolving aspects of organizational buying (e.g., buy-cycle, level of risk, buying center, impulse buying, routinized response buying, ) affect B2B buyers.
  • Role of engagement behavior and interfirm relationships in influencing B2B buyers.
  • The impact of sequential vs. contemporaneous buying processes on B2B buyers.

External factors and B2B buyer behavior

  • The effect of external stakeholder (e.g., supplier) prestige and/or reputation, or supplier sophistication on B2B buyers.
  • The psychological and decision-making impact of constraining regulations on B2B buyer behavior.
  • The influence of cultural, political ideology, and religious factors on B2B buying behavior.
  • The role of IT advances, machine learning, and increased propensity towards online buying on B2B buying behavior.
  • Legal and policy considerations in B2B buyer’s decision-making.

Preparation and submission of papers and review process

Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Submissions should be about 6,000-8,000 words in length. Submissions should be uploaded through the EVISE system on Industrial Marketing Management’s homepage. Authors need to submit their paper using the dropdown box for the special issue on VSI: Industrial Buyer Behavior. For guidelines, visit:


Papers not complying with the guide for authors (cf. IMM’s homepage) or poorly written manuscripts will be desk rejected. Suitable papers will be subjected to a double-blind review; hence, authors must not identify themselves in the body of their paper. Please do not submit a Word file with “track changes” active or a PDF file. Manuscripts falling within the scope of the special issue (as described above) and deemed to have a reasonable chance of conditional acceptance after no more than two rounds of revisions will enter the review process.

Important dates

  • Submission opens: 1st June, 2021
  • Deadline for submission: 1st July, 2021

Developmental symposium

The guest editors are currently planning a virtual symposium/workshop on “CB Theories in B2B Buying” to be held in February 2021. The goal of the symposium is to (1) facilitate a scholarly discussion on the topics highlighted in this call for papers, and (2) provide prospective authors an opportunity to receive feedback and constructive comments on their abstracts/working papers from peer researchers and the special issue guest editors. This forum is not compulsory nor required for authors that are aiming submitting their manuscripts for consideration to of this SI. Further detail will be forthcoming via an ELMAR posting. In the meantime, interested parties are encouraged to reach out to one of the guest editors.

Guest editors

Dr. Riza Casidy (riza.casidy@mq.edu.au), Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, Macquarie University, Australia.

Dr. Mayoor Mohan (mmohan@vcu.edu), Associate Professor of Marketing, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.

Dr. Munyaradzi W. Nyadzayo (munyarnyadzayo@uowdubai.ac.ae), Associate Professor of Marketing, University of Wollongong in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Bendixen, M., Bukasa, K. A., & Abratt, R. (2004). Brand equity in the business-to-business market. Industrial Marketing Management, 33, 371-380.

Casidy, R., & Nyadzayo, M. (2019). Drivers and outcomes of relationship quality with professional service firms: An sme owner-manager perspective. Industrial Marketing Management, 78, 27-42.

Casidy, R., Nyadzayo, M. W., Mohan, M., & Brown, B. P. (2018). The relative influence of functional versus imagery beliefs on brand sensitivity in B2B professional services. Industrial Marketing Management, 72, 26-36.

Ferguson, J. L., & Mohan, M. (2019). Use of celebrity and non-celebrity persons in B2B advertisements: Effects on attention, recall, and hedonic and utilitarian attitudes. Industrial Marketing Management.

Gartner. (2019). The new B2B buying journey. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/en/sales/insights/b2b-buying-journey (1 February 2020).

Grewal, R., Lilien, G. L., Bharadwaj, S., Jindal, P., Kayande, U., Lusch, R. F., Mantrala, M., Palmatier, R. W., Rindfleisch, A., & Scheer, L. K. (2015). Business-to-business buying: Challenges and opportunities. Customer needs and Solutions, 2, 193-208.

He, J., Huang, H., & Wu, W. (2018). Influence of interfirm brand values congruence on relationship qualities in B2B contexts. Industrial Marketing Management, 72, 161-173.

Jiang, Z., Shiu, E., Henneberg, S., & Naude, P. (2016). Relationship quality in business to business relationships—reviewing the current literatures and proposing a new measurement model. Psychology & Marketing, 33, 297-313.

Lilien, G. L. (2016). The B2B knowledge gap. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 33, 543-556.

Matias, R. (2018). The B2B buying process has changed: Here’s how not to get left behind. Retrieved from http://www.callboxinc.com/b2b-marketing-andstrategy/b2b-buying-process-changed-heres-not-get-left-behind/ (25 Jan 2018).

Mudambi, S. (2002). Branding importance in business-to-business markets: Three buyer clusters. Industrial Marketing Management, 31, 525-533.

Nyadzayo, M. W., Casidy, R., & Thaichon, P. (2020). B2b purchase engagement: Examining the key drivers and outcomes in professional services. Industrial Marketing Management, 85, 197-208.

Steward, M. D., Narus, J. A., Roehm, M. L., & Ritz, W. (2019). From transactions to journeys and beyond: The evolution of B2B buying process modeling. Industrial Marketing Management.

Tuncdogan, A., Lindgreen, A., van den Bosch, F., & Volberda, H. (2019). Guest editorial: Psychological micro-foundations of business-to-business decision making. Industrial Marketing Management, 83, 128-133.

Wang, C. L., & Hao, A. W. (2018). Advancing theoretical and strategic development of branding in industrial marketing. Industrial Marketing Management, 72, 1-3.

Wiersema, F. (2013). The 2b agenda: The current state of B2B marketing and a look ahead. Industrial Marketing Management, 4, 470-488.

Zablah, A. R., Brown, B. P., & Donthu, N. (2010). The relative importance of brands in modified rebuy purchase situations. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 27, 248-260.