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Competitive channel relationship management: When resellers establish competing manufacturer relationships

Abstract

The focus of this study is the impact of competitive relationships on the effectiveness of channel relationship management strategies. We argue that the characteristics of a reseller’s relationship with alternative manufacturers influence his/her evaluation of the relationship with a focal manufacturer. We extend previous research by suggesting that the relative levels of channel conflict and information exchange are critical determinants of relationship outcomes. Building on previous literature on customer satisfaction, we argue that this relation is asymmetric; improvements in the levels of channel conflict and information exchange will have a greater effect when these are below the competitor’s comparative level than when these are above. We find support for these hypotheses in a sample of 491 observations corresponding to different resellers selling a manufacturer’s product line across several countries. Our results underscore the need for suppliers to go beyond conflict minimization and information exchange policies across relationships and consider individual-level competitive effects for each relationship.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. In a first step, a Wald test indicates whether the equality of coefficients constraint can be rejected. If this null hypothesis is rejected (i.e., the two coefficients are not equal), then an asymmetric effect is present if the coefficient for “negative relative relationship attribute performance” is higher than the “positive relative relationship attribute performance” coefficient.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the participating supplier for the assistance in the design and data collection. We would also like to thank Erin Anderson, Doug Bowman, Hubert Gatignon, Sandy Jap, and Dimitri Kapelianis for the valuable comments on elements of this project. The usual disclaimer applies.

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Correspondence to Alberto Sa Vinhas or Richard Gibbs.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 3 Measures

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Sa Vinhas, A., Gibbs, R. Competitive channel relationship management: When resellers establish competing manufacturer relationships. Mark Lett 23, 645–659 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-012-9168-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-012-9168-3

Keywords

  • Distribution channels
  • Business-to-business marketing
  • Channel management
  • Competitive effects