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Trust and commitment within franchise systems: an Australian and New Zealand perspective

Owen Wright (Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)
Anthony Grace (Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




Although research in franchising is currently experiencing an advancement in the investigation of behavioural attributes, the motivators and perceptions of participants within this partnership, the key variables of trust and commitment, a key to successful business relations, requires further insight. The purpose of this paper is to extend the idiosyncratic dynamics of the franchisor‐franchisee relationship and the influence of such constructs from a distance perspective. Seminal work on relationship marketing (Morgan and Hunt) forms the foundation in the development of the franchising relational dynamics model posed within this paper.


This paper adopts a qualitative, case‐based approach of four Australian retail franchises with holdings in New Zealand. In‐depth interviews were conducted with 20 franchisees to derive perceptions on trust and commitment currently experienced within the franchise relationship to inform the resultant findings.


Key findings suggest trust and commitment are limited or non‐existent within franchise systems if the provision of consistent, transparent communication is absent or minimal, increasing the propensity for dysfunctional agent‐based behaviour. Three major antecedents for success of a franchise system exist: goal congruence, organisational culture, and communication. Minimal levels of commitment and trust exist where distance affects the stated antecedents.

Research limitations/implications

This research is exploratory with the findings providing an imperative for further investigation in the management of human factors within franchise systems as opposed to transactional‐based foci in many current studies. Theoretical development adopting a relationship marketing focus from a distance perspective rather than the transaction‐based approach of a single country adds to existing research. This paper is limited to analysis of franchisees' perceptions. Future research should look at both franchisor and franchisee perspectives.


Research of perceptions of individual franchisees, trust and commitment within the franchise relationship is limited within the Asia‐Pacific region. Findings of possible dynamic differences in the franchisor/franchisee dyad provide initial evidence advancing and informing both academic and managerial practice.



Wright, O. and Grace, A. (2011), "Trust and commitment within franchise systems: an Australian and New Zealand perspective", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 486-500.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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