Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Haemoon Oh


This research investigated the effects of private sector suppliers' relationship bonding tactics (RBTs) on the behavior of public sector foodservice buyers, within the context of perceived business ethics that affected these relationships. The objectives were to: (a) examine RBTs used by food manufacturers selling to school foodservice administrators, (b) determine RBTs that predicted a larger share of school foodservice customers, (c) develop strategy suggestions for the frozen food manufacturing industry, and (d) contribute to the relationship marketing (RM) literature by proposing a new conceptual model that tested the effects of RBTs and key ethical variables on share of customer. Focus group data were used to identify key constructs and identify RBTs used by food manufacturers in the school foodservice market. Electronic questionnaires were sent to a random sample of school foodservice administrators (N=1,780), stratified by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) region. The online survey was completed by 685 of the 1,780 school administrators for a response rate of 38%. Analysis of a causal model showed that only equity and commitment significantly predicted the percentage of respondents' total frozen food purchases. These results indicate that social bonding strategies may be the only viable RBTs used in foodservice buyer-seller relationships in the public sector. Considering the prominence of RM, more empirical research is needed to establish RM theory as it relates to marketing in the foodservice industry.


Copyright Owner

Mary Susan Begalle



Date Available


File Format


File Size

125 pages