Never alone in business

When you are in business, you never really work alone! Whether they want to or not, businesses have to collaborate with multiple partners. These business relationships include alliances, partnerships, franchises, subcontracting, manufacturer-distributor relations, and the list goes on!

It goes without saying that the business and the people who work there need to develop good relational skills to make the most of these constant and crucial exchanges. The Centre de recherche sur le marketing et le management de l'échange relationnel (Research Centre for marketing and relational exchange management), directed by Michèle Paulin, is applying itself to the analysis of bilateral and trilateral exchanges (client-organization, client-staff, organization-staff, organization-employee, and inter-worker) in different service industries (biotechnology, finance, information and communication technology, health) and in different cultural contexts (Canada, Germany, France, Tunisia).

The research centre's work shows the strategic impact of relational exchanges on long-term performance and continuous innovation. Among their main observations, the researchers note that relational norms are an essential management tool for the exchange of privileged information, and that relational communications must be adjusted to precise measures and objectives. According to them, relational skill is an individual and collective factor that is influenced by the service industry and the cultural context in which the organizations evolve.

The researchers also note the importance of the partners' level of confidence and commitment, while pointing out that the co-creation of value and innovation, which is the objective of these partnerships, is often impeded by hesitation on the part of the decision makers, who are caught between the desire to act and the inertia reflex, as well as the priority given to short-term economic performance.

This research has allowed the development of a pedagogy for initiating young administrators to marketing and "strategic relationship management".


Centre de recherche sur le marketing et le management de l'échange relationnel


Michèle Paulin, Université Concordia

Regular members

  • Soumaya Ben Letaifa, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Jasmin Bergeron, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Ronald Ferguson, Université Concordia 
  • Line Ricard, Université du Québec à Montréal