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Exploring the influence of channel leadership style on channel commitment in a franchising context

Dheeraj Sharma ( Indian Institute of Management Rohtak , Haryana, India and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad , Gujarat, India)
Shivan Sanjay Patel ( Indian Institute of Management Rohtak , Haryana, India)
Shivendra Kumar Pandey ( Indian Institute of Management Rohtak , Haryana, India)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 8 June 2021

Issue publication date: 13 August 2021




This paper aims to explore franchisor–franchisee relationships in the context of plural forms. Plural forms implies the co-existence of franchised and non-franchised outlets of a given company. More specifically, the paper examines the impact of franchisors’ leadership styles on franchisees’ relationship commitment when the company franchised outlets co-exist with independent non-franchised outlets. Specifically, this study operationalize the plural forms phenomenon in franchising, using multi-channel complexity as a moderator. The mediating role of relational capital is also examined.


Data were collected from 254 franchisees. The hypothesized model was tested using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM).


The results indicate that all three – participative, supportive and directive leadership styles of franchisors increase relationship commitment. In a high channel complexity context, a supportive leadership style is the most effective, whereas, in a low channel complexity context, a participative style is the most effective. Relational capital also partially mediated the relationships between leadership styles and relationship commitment.

Practical implications

Franchisors should follow a participative leadership style when channel complexity is low. However, as they add new channels and the channel complexity increases, franchisors should shift toward a supportive leadership style to maintain existing franchisees’ commitment. In current environments, managers should avoid using directive leadership in favor of the other two leadership styles.


The present study is the first to examine the influence of channel leadership style on relationship commitment in an environment of multiple channel complexity.



The authors thank the Editor and the anonymous reviewers for their useful insights and suggestions.


Sharma, D., Patel, S.S. and Pandey, S.K. (2021), "Exploring the influence of channel leadership style on channel commitment in a franchising context", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 8, pp. 1415-1434.



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