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Intermediary resources and export venture performance under different export channel structures

Ryuta Ishii (Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics, Fukui Prefectural University, Fukui, Japan) (Graduate School of Business and Commerce, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 14 January 2021

Issue publication date: 20 May 2021




The literature on export channels suggests that intermediary resources, namely intermediary competence and availability, are critical for export success. However, little is known about how the beneficial effects of intermediary resources differ amongst integrated, independent and dual channel structures. One difference between these channel structures is the degree of reliance on independent intermediaries. This study aims to investigate (1) the impact of intermediary resources on export venture success, that is, export sales performance and channel maintenance costs and (2) the moderating role of the degree of reliance on independent intermediaries.


Empirical testing was conducted using survey data collected from 204 Japanese industrial exporting ventures. To test the proposed hypotheses, this study estimated a structural equation model with the maximum likelihood estimation procedure.


Evidence shows that two aspects of intermediary resources have different beneficial effects on export venture success. Specifically, intermediary availability leads to export venture success by decreasing channel maintenance costs, whereas intermediary competence is not always beneficial for it. Furthermore, this study finds that reliance on independent intermediaries positively moderates the impacts of intermediary competence and availability.


Previous studies emphasise the importance of intermediary resources and export channel structures. However, the question of whether export channel structures determine the performance benefits of intermediary resources is unanswered. By addressing this question, this study provides helpful insight into how exporting managers can implement channel strategy and access intermediary resources to achieve export success.



The author would like to express special thanks to the Editor-in-Chief, Prof. John W. Cadogan for his helpful advice and invaluable feedback during the development of this paper. The author also would like to thank Prof. Akinori Ono and the helpful anonymous reviewer, without whose valuable comments and suggestions this work would never have reached its final form. The author appreciates financial support provided by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP17J03156 and JP20K13619.


Ishii, R. (2021), "Intermediary resources and export venture performance under different export channel structures", International Marketing Review, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 564-584.



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