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The franchisor–franchisee relationship and customer data management in the digital era

Hanene Oueslati (CREGO-UHA (EA 7317), University of Upper-Alsace, Colmar, France)
Martine Deparis (INSEEC U Research Center - IREBS European Business School, Paris, France)
Saloua Bennaghmouch-Maire (LISEC (EA 2310), University of Upper-Alsace, Colmar, France)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 12 March 2021

Issue publication date: 8 July 2021




The digitalization of an organization implies centralizing the data collected. Nevertheless, the management of customer data in franchise networks is a delicate, complicated and little studied issue. The purpose of this paper is to investigate its challenges and the keys to success, by developing a conceptual framework resulting from a qualitative study and a literature review.


A qualitative study was carried out with around 30 franchisors, franchisees and franchise experts in the light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The results of the qualitative study helped to clarify our theoretical framework and to position ourselves on the side of the founding theories of relationship marketing. A research model was then defined and tested using a quantitative survey administered to a total sample of 192 franchisors and franchisees.


The results of the various studies show that relationship quality, through inter-organizational commitment, explains the achievement of marketing performance in franchise networks. In addition, the place of relationship quality depends on four essential variables: inter-organizational communication, franchisee autonomy, technical and human resources and contractualization of customer data management.


This study focuses on a topic that has received very little attention, particularly in franchise networks. It uses a mixed-methods design that has enabled the identification of key variables contributing to the achievement of marketing and sales performance in a data management context.



This work was supported by grant from the French Franchising Federation (FFF).


Oueslati, H., Deparis, M. and Bennaghmouch-Maire, S. (2021), "The franchisor–franchisee relationship and customer data management in the digital era", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 49 No. 7, pp. 977-998.



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