The purpose of this study is to develop a better understanding of how relational embeddedness offers marketing channel partners both benefits and hazards. The nonlinear effect of relational embeddedness on channel opportunism is investigated. Influence strategies (i.e. coercive and noncoercive influence) are also examined as mediators of this nonlinear effect.
Survey data are gathered from a sample of 149 manufacturers in China. The hypotheses are tested through regression analysis.
The results support the hypothesis that relational embeddedness has a U-shaped effect on opportunism, and that this relationship can be mediated through noncoercive influence strategies. The results also indicate that coercive influence has an inverted U-shaped effect and noncoercive influence has a U-shaped effect on opportunism.
This research serves as a launching point for further investigations into the “black box” of the double-edged effects of relational embeddedness. Other channel behavior constructs can be explored in future studies.
Firms should be aware of the benefits and pitfalls associated with relational embeddedness in marketing channels. They should be alert to using influence strategies when managing channel opportunism.
This study addresses the dilemma of embeddedness in marketing channel relationships and reveals its causes and mechanisms by exploring the mediating effects of influence strategies.
This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71502018, 71902013, 72072141 and 71640014), the Central University Basic Scientific Research Business Expenses Special Funds (300102238619, 300102239622 and 310823155005) and the Social Science Foundation of Shaanxi Province (2019S017).
The authors also thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions on the article.
Zhou, Y., Yang, W. and Zhuang, G. (2021), "The dilemma of relational embeddedness: mediating roles of influence strategies in managing marketing channel opportunism", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 6, pp. 917-932. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-01-2020-0021
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