Introduction

The notion of exchange is the basis of all transactions. Initially defined through a transactional perspective, exchange was considered only in the short term and without any social link between actors (e.g., Bagozzi, 1975). Faced with the limitations of this restrictive representation, marketing research was oriented, following the work of Macneil (1980), to a relational approach of exchange. Indeed, Macneil (1980, 2000) proposed a comprehensive framework to better understand commercial relationships, thus laying the foundation for relationship marketing (Theron & Terblanche, 2010). Exchanges between a company and its customers must therefore be understood in the long term and include all the strategies designed to encourage lasting customer connections. For Macneil (1980), commercial exchanges are governed by contracts, and also by informal elements called "exchange norms" (Dwyer, Schurr, & Oh, 1987; Ivens & Pardo, 2007). More precisely, the implicit agreements that drive and guide exchange relationships can include relational and discrete norms (Macneil, 1980). Discrete exchange norms "contain expectations about an individualistic or competitive interaction between exchange partners," while relational exchange norms "are based on the expectation of mutuality of interest, essentially prescribing stewardship behavior, and are designed to enhance the wellbeing of the relationship as a whole" (Heide & John, 1992, p. 34). From a managerial point of view, exchange norms are supposed to help practitioners better manage their relationship with customers based on implicit rules. Discrete norms are short-term rules designed to bring a given transaction to a conclusion in the purely individual interest of each party, while relational norms are long-term rules whose purpose is to maintain the relationship over time for the good of both parties.