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How can professional service industry achieve sustainable competitive advantage through relationship marketing strategy?: A qualitative Study on Self-financed Overseas Study Agencies in Hubei, China
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]



The aim of this study is to provide an insight into relationship marketing from a strategic view in Chinese context.Meanwhile, it analyzes how empirical study such as self-financed overseas study consulting agency could use this relationship marketing as a strategic tool to help it to achieve competitive advantage.


Theoretical methodology

Theoretical methodology covers theoretical considerations that influence how the study is designed and conducted.


Theoretical framework and literature review

This section gives readers a general understanding with related literature. . In order to access this perception, this study employs a related theory as the main conceptual framework for examining theories and major findings. Furthermore, by studying empirical findings, it acts as mirror to reflect prior scholar’s literature in order to have a critical and in-depth research study.


Practical methodology

Several practical techniques were chosen for this research, such as qualitative approach, semi-constructed interviews, samplings etc. The purpose of this study is to find out how relationship marketing can bring to a self-financed overseas study consulting agency in China sustainable competitive advantage based on customer satisfaction and customer retention perspective.


Empirical observation and analysis

The thesis is based on the case studies within the Chinese market, with two special Agencies: Hubei Education Service Center for Scholary Exchange, Hubei Jinmao Foreign consultants Managerial co., Ltd. The questions are addressed using information obtained in interview with respondents from the agencies and from secondary data. (Documentary secondary data)



The author found that by using customer retention to ‘individual clients’ and by using customer satisfaction (eventually by using word of mouth) to individual clients can bring a self-financed overseas study consulting agency in China sustainable competitive advantages based on the commitment and trust mechanism. However, author could not find out the evidence to prove that using relationship marketing tools is the single solution to compete more successfully than without it. It is further argued by author that relationship marketing is just one aspect strengthening the generic strategy in order to gain sustainable competitive advantage.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 94 p.
Keyword [en]
Self-financed overseas study agency, professional service industry (PSFs) sustainable competitive advantage, relationship Marketing, customer relationship marketing, Guanxi
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-50645OAI: diva2:467020
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2011-12-19 Created: 2011-12-18 Last updated: 2011-12-19Bibliographically approved

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