The advent of the internet, digitization and e-commerce has changed the definition of business territory, re-invented direct selling, eradicated middle men and brought the customers and sellers closer. These changes in the business scenario must have had an impact on the intensity and nature of channel conflict which needs to be inspected to structure better channel relationship strategies in the changing context. This paper aims to attempt a systematic investigation into the determinants of channel conflict in today’s context and proposes a composite model by reconciling the research so far in the domain of channel relationships.
An exhaustive search was carried for extant research finding in the channels resulting in the identification of 284 research papers beyond the meta-analysis by Geyskens et al. (1999). The next step was to manually scan through each of these papers to identify the studies which involved quantitative analysis including measures of association such as correlations related to conflict and the determinants of conflict. This led to the finalization of 36 research papers for the meta-analysis.
This study proffers a model that illustrates ranking of major determinants of channel conflict. The results of the study suggest that determinants can be categorized into three major domains: organizational, interpersonal (communication, cooperation, relationship activities and opportunistic behaviour) and environmental factors (environmental volatility, competitive intensity and product or market volatility).
The analysis is based on static data in the sense that the correlations do not reflect supplier-channel member interactions in specific conflict situations. It may be argued that conflicts ultimately occur among firms/businesses run by individuals and individual traits may also impact the formation and resolution of conflict. Further, the quality of the measures capturing the constructs was not investigated in many studies. Final limitation pertains to the measurement of conflict. Conflict may not have been measured in a uniform manner in each of the studies analysed. As this study has evaluated extant research through a meta-analysis, it was not possible to identify the correlations between the determinant variables and the three factors (or constructs).
This study reconciles different research streams in this domain with the visualization of the composite model. It presents a quantitative analysis of the correlations of the determinants of conflict with channel conflict holistically. It creates a base through the composite model to carry forward the academic discussion in this domain holistically. It aims to be a ready reference for understanding the antecedents of conflict along with their significant correlations to enable prioritization of their channel strategies.
This meta-analysis and the suggested model that may be of use to practitioners in terms of prioritizing their activities to reduce channel conflicts through pre-emption. It is hoped that this study enhances the extant understanding of the determinants of channel conflict considerably based on the presented composite model. The results may assist to resolve channel conflicts, create channel synergies, identify optimal channel mix, reduce channel costs, increase channel efficiency and build partnerships in the changing business scenario.
A holistic view of the determinants of conflict would be of enormous use to practitioners and academics alike. Hence, a detailed study is required to enlist and categorize the determinants causing conflict in channels so that an attempt can be made to resolve channel conflict for better performance of the firms. This meta-analysis study is an attempt to fill this major gap in research in this domain to quantitatively analyse the major determinants of channel conflict on the basis of analysis of research work over the past 15 years.
Sharma, D. and Parida, B. (2018), "Determinants of conflict in channel relationships: a meta-analytic review", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 7, pp. 911-930. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-08-2016-0195Download as .RIS
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