Understanding process in relationship marketing: a focus on reciprocity

Document Type


Publication details

Pervan, SJ & Johnson, LW 2003, 'Understanding process in relationship marketing: a focus on reciprocity', Journal of Customer Behaviour, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 167-191.

Published version available from:



Reciprocity is a process fundamental to relational stability. Its examination may provide some of the information necessary to define relationship marketing, something which has not been given due consideration in the literature. This paper defines reciprocity in a relationship marketing context. In doing so we uncover some of the motivations for engaging in relational exchange. Behaving reciprocally helps ensure mutual economic and social gain. Included in the latter are primary goods such as equilibrium, self-esteem, and expectation, which in turn facilitate the achievement of excellence in moral character.