Date of Award

Winter 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration-Marketing

Committee Director

John B. Ford

Committee Member

Earl D. Honeycutt, Jr.

Committee Member

Edward Markowski


Contemporary order-of-entry research has shifted from econometric investigations to research grounded in quasi-experimental and empirical consumer behavior studies. In the marketing literature, Carpenter and Nakamoto (1988), Kardes and Kalyanaram (1992), and particularly Alpert and Kamins (1992, 1994, 1995) have examined the role of consumer behavior as a potential explanation of first mover advantage. However, little or no research has been devoted to an understanding of pioneer advantage as it relates to industrial markets.

This dissertation investigated the effect of order of entry on the attitudes of industrial purchasing managers. Six major hypotheses were proposed to examine the cognitive beliefs, attitudes, and purchasing intentions of industrial purchasing managers as they relate to order of entry. Specifically, this line of inquiry examined the global and multiattribute attitudes of industrial purchasing managers toward three categories of entry: pioneers, early followers, and late entrants. In addition, the research strategy of this study included a measure of global attitudinal preference under ceteris paribus conditions. The research setting for this study consisted of National Association of Purchasing Management members representing strategic business units from Standard Industrial Classifications 35, 36, 37, and 38. The results of this study were based upon a multivariate statistical analysis of the survey responses of 231 industrial purchasing managers. The findings of this study strongly suggest that industrial purchasing managers hold different attitudes toward potential suppliers based upon their entry order. In contrast to previous research in consumer goods settings, industrial purchasing managers were found to extend an attitudinal preference to early followers over pioneers. This attitudinal preference was substantial, statistically significant, and consistent. Survey respondents were also found to associate different subjective attributes with different order-of-entry categories, creating potential trade-offs in the purchasing decision. Pioneer suppliers were perceived to be more technologically sophisticated and more likely to enhance the competitive advantage of the purchasing firm's products. However, survey respondents expressed concerns regarding pioneer quality, reliability, and expense—all factors associated with perceived risk. When these concerns were mitigated, industrial purchasing managers were found to prefer pioneer products.