Working Paper

Sources of Information Utilized During the Industrial Buying Process: An Empirical Overview

Rowland T. Moriarty and Robert E. Spekman, 1983, 83-101

Influence of information sources on industrial buying decisions.

Type of Report
Findings from a survey of industrial firms.

To examine what information sources industrial buyers rely on during the procurement process and what factors determine the relative importance of these information sources.

Data were collected from a stratified random sample of 319 companies which had recently made a major acquisition of data terminals. Multiple regression analysis was used to investigate the simultaneous effect of situational, organizational, individual, and decision phase variables on the importance attached to different information sources.


  • Through factor analysis, five categories of information sources were identified--published materials, trade-related (e.g., from trade shows or trade associations), users of the product to be purchased, others (e.g., upper management, purchasing personnel, outside consultants), and manufacturer's representatives.
  • In general, the regression results indicate that industrial marketers could do well by developing a comprehensive communications plan that makes coordinated use of all these information source categories.
  • For example, the research confirms the importance of the manufacturer's representative during the need recognition and vendor selection stages of the buying process but also emphasizes the importance of published and trade-related sources of information and users during the search for alternative vendors stage.
  • The use of multiple sources is important in situations embodying high levels of decision conflict and/or risk.
  • Industrial marketers might differentiate between users and others because these sources are important at different stages of the decision process. Both seem to be important information sources for upper-level managers.

Target Audience/Applicability
Academic researchers, marketers of industrial goods or services.

Related MSI Research
No previous research on this topic.

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