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The dilemma of relational embeddedness: mediating roles of influence strategies in managing marketing channel opportunism

Yin Zhou (School of Economics and Management, Chang'an University, Xi'an, China)
Wei Yang (School of Economics and Management, Chang'an University, Xi'an, China)
Guijun Zhuang (School of Management, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 6 November 2020

Issue publication date: 25 May 2021

343

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data are gathered from a sample of 149 manufacturers in China. The hypotheses are tested through regression analysis.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

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.

Citation

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

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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