Relationship fading in business-to-consumer context

  • Joanna Pokorska

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The objective of this thesis is to develop a better understanding of the relationship fading phenomenon in business-to-consumer context. Fading relates to a gradual decline in consumer’s willingness to continue a relationship with a company. Therefore, understanding the fading process may help to elucidate the ‘unexplained’ relationship dissolution and customer defection. Led by an assumption that a relationship between a consumer and a brand is like the one between individuals, the thesis proposes that the trajectory of relationship fading reflects the disaffection processes similar to the ones suggested in marital and romantic relationships between individuals.
The approach taken to answering this research question is a multi-study approach. This type of approach allows addressing each individual research question independently, using the most appropriate research methods. As a result, the thesis comprises three adjacent studies. All three studies are linked and together contribute to a better understanding of the relationship fading process, which is the main topic of the thesis.
Based on the results from the first study, a set of boundary conditions of relationship fading is identified. The results of the second study suggest that predictors of relationship fading stage can be uncovered. Thirdly, different restoration techniques are explored, aiming to describe their effectiveness in various relationship fading stages. Individual objectives of the three studies are accomplished. All three studies contribute to achieving the overall objective of the thesis, namely to developing a better understanding of the phenomenon of relationship fading.
Date of AwardSept 2016
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAndrew Farrell (Supervisor) & Heiner Evanschitzky (Supervisor)


  • relationship fading
  • romantic relationships
  • relationship trajectory

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