Category management tactics: an analysis of manufacturers' control

Arto Lindblom (Department of Marketing, Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Rami Olkkonen (Department of Marketing, Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Turku, Finland)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Publication date: 1 June 2006



To assess the weight and extent of control possessed by manufacturers over category management (CM) tactics in contemporary distribution channels for fast‐moving consumer goods; and to analyse the origins of this control.


A survey study conducted among Finnish manufacturers of fast‐moving consumer goods. A total of 420 questionnaires were sent out. Of these, 84 questionnaires were returned, of which 83 were satisfactorily completed for use in the analysis.


The study reveals that manufacturers believe that retailers are clearly in charge of CM tactics. However, large manufacturers seem to possess a relatively strong weight of control in CM decision making, whereas small manufacturers possess little weight of control. The origins of manufacturers' control are mostly non‐coercive in nature.

Research limitations/implications

This study has approached CM from the perspective of manufacturing organisations. The phenomenon could also be approached from the retailers' or a dyadic perspective. It would be fruitful to conduct comparative studies in other national settings. Conceptual and qualitative empirical studies are needed to obtain a clearer understanding of the phenomenon.

Practical implications

The study suggests that manufacturers who wish to gain some control over CM tactics should base their interaction with retailers on expertise and issues related to referent power bases.


This paper offers new perspectives on CM by examining the concept of power within manufacturer‐retailer relationships.



Lindblom, A. and Olkkonen, R. (2006), "Category management tactics: an analysis of manufacturers' control", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 482-496.

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