Free Access
Volume 15, Number 2, 2001
Page(s) 3 - 16
DOI: 10.1051/ejess:2001112

European Journal of Economic and Social Systems 15 N° 2 (2001) 3-16

A dyadic segmentation approach to business partnerships

Jacques-Marie Aurifeille1 and Christopher John Medlin2

1  University of La Réunion, FACIREM lab. E-mail:
2  School of Commerce, Adelaide University, 5005 Australia

In business science, the studied objects are often groups of partners rather than independent firms. Extending classical segmentation to these polyads raises conceptual problems, principally: defining what should be considered as common or specific at the partners' and at the segment levels. The general approaches consist either in merging partners characteristics and performances into a single macro-object, thus loosing their specific contributions to each partner's performance, or in modelling partners' performance as if their models were independent. As a step to understanding, how partnership influences firms' performance, the dyadic (i.e. two partners') case is studied. First, some theoretical issues concerning the degrees of individual and contributive interest in a dyadic population are discussed. Next, partnership's conceptualisation is based upon two models for each firm: a "self-model" that reflects how the firm's characteristics explain its own performance, and a "contributive-model" model that reflects how these characteristics influence the partner's performance. This allows definition of three relationship modes: merging, teaming and sharing. Subsequently, dyad segmentation strategies are discussed according to their capacity to reflect the modes of partnership and a dyadic clusterwise regression method, based on a genetic algorithm, is presented. Finally, the method is illustrated empirically using actual data of business partners in the software market.

Key words: Business partnership, relationships, segmentation, dyads, genetic algorithm

© EDP Sciences 2001