Strategic decision making in business relationships: A dyadic agent-based simulation approach

Sebastian Forkmann, Di Wang, Stephan C. Henneberg, Peter Naudé, Alistair Sutcliffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study employs agent-based simulation to model strategic decision making in business relationships, examining the influence of two important strategy drivers in business relationships (performance and power) on relationship success (relationship survival and performance). The study offers insights into the complex and evolutionary interaction and feedback effects between networking strategy choice, relationship performance and power. Findings show that although certain strategies may be desirable for firms to manage their business relationships, they are not necessarily as successful in all situations. Results indicate that a trade-off exists between relationship context and performance which needs to be considered in strategic networking decisions. Further, the study shows that too many strategy changes cause relationships to become unstable and thus negatively affect performance. The authors refer to this phenomenon as strategy volatility - the rate at which actors change their networking strategies within relationships. This phenomenon arises when too many variables influence firms' decision making and thus cause firms to frequently change their strategy. Although strategy volatility has a relationship safeguarding effect in the short term, this effect diminishes over time.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)816-830
Number of pages15
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Agent-based simulation
  • Exploration and exploitation
  • Network pictures
  • Strategic decision making
  • Strategy volatility


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