A lack of commitment between Japanese buyers and their foreign trading partners is often attributed as the cause of failure for foreign sellers in Japan. Due to Japanese idiosyncrasies, commitment plays a dominant, but poorly understood, role in the business relationship between foreign sellers and Japanese buyers. This research examines the role that the attachment bond between U.S. sellers and Japanese buyers plays in mediating the impact of exchange characteristics on performance in the domestic Japanese market. An analysis of 198 U.S. sellers in Japan demonstrates the complex web of calculative, social, and normative factors that account for the commitment existing in this foreign–Japanese trading relationship. The results highlight the importance of specific investments and cultural sensitivity for the seller’s commitment and the role of trust and switching costs in the buyer’s commitment.
- switching costs
- cultural sensitivity
- transaction specific investments