The purpose of this study is to propose a conceptual model that reflects interfirm exchanges can work well even under complex and tough conditions. Despite the general notion implying the negative impacts of environmental volatility and contextual distance between firms on interfirm relationships; this paper attempts to point out how that effect might be positive in buyer-supplier exchanges. Departing from the perspectives favoring diversity, the model proposes that dissimilarities between organizations create learning potential, which would be realized by intense communication between firms along with their motivation and transparency to do so. The model actually speculates on the antecedents and facilitators of learning in business-to-business exchanges. This study is expected to make a conceptual contribution, especially to the debate on inter-organizational distance through the contingency view. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.