Business relationships during project afterlife: Antecedents, processes, and outcomes

Ilkka Tapani Ojansivu*, Kimmo Alajoutsijärvi, Jari Salo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this research is to increase understanding of post-project business relationships in service-intensive projects, a topic unexplored to date. This research contributes to the project marketing research focusing on post-project interaction, by building a conceptual research framework capable of illustrating the path from the initiation of a relationship through the project’s afterlife. Design/methodology/approach – A comparative case study is used across four different service-intensive project contexts to highlight the conceptual research framework, derived from the IMP-related interaction research, in practice. Findings – According to the research findings, there are at least four potential post-project business relationships associated with service-intensive projects. Furthermore, the findings indicate that these relationships embody certain antecedent and process characteristics, enabling us to compile four distinct development paths. Research limitations/implications – The four cases of the empirical research were chosen on theoretical grounds to highlight the conceptual research framework in practice, and thus the purpose was mainly descriptive. The findings should be generalized only with caution, as more empirical research is needed in this emerging project context. Practical implications – For managers, the findings provide practical guidance to deal with different post-project relationships. They will help managers to initiate, maintain and develop post-project relationships and to avoid a mismatch between relationship antecedent, processes and outcomes. Originality/value – Post-project buyer – seller interaction has been studied by the project marketing research stream, but mainly from the perspective of social exchange and sleeping relationships. With the advent of service-intensive projects, however, a whole new breed of post-project business relationships is unfolding and demanding research attention. This research is a step toward understanding the different post-project business relationships associated with service-intensive projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-583
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Buyer – Seller relationships
  • Interaction
  • Project afterlife
  • Project marketing
  • Service-intensive projects

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