The buying center (BC) has captivated the attention of researchers for >50 years, becoming a central element of organizational buying behavior. While it seems easy to identify the BC participants in any given situation, the marketing literature lacks an integrative framework for examining the nature of BC. The purpose of this study is threefold: (1) to develop a rigorous BC conceptual model; (2) to provide an assessment of the BC state-of-the-art; and (3) to identify key opportunities for future research. Based on a systematic literature review, the descriptive findings indicate a decreasing number of publications since the late 2000s and that top-tier marketing journals have been almost silent since the early 90s. The domain-based findings suggest a three-layer model driving a thorough understanding of the concept, the main stages associated with BC deployment (formation, dynamics, and outcomes), and the contextual factors influencing BC decision-making.
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- Buying center
- Decision-making unit
- Organizational buying behavior
- Research agenda
- Systematic literature review