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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2022

Eugenia Rosca, Wendy L. Tate, Lydia Bals, Feigao Huang and Francesca Ciulli

Driven by increasing concerns for sustainable development and digitalization, intermediaries have emerged as relevant actors who can help supply chains tackle grand…

Abstract

Purpose

Driven by increasing concerns for sustainable development and digitalization, intermediaries have emerged as relevant actors who can help supply chains tackle grand societal challenges. They can also trigger significant changes in structure, shape and governance models of supply chains. The goal of this research is to advance the understanding of supply chain intermediation and digital governance as coordinating mechanisms for enabling multi-level collective action to address the world's grand challenges.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual research paper that uses a vignette approach, where real examples are described to help question and expand theoretical insights and provide a basis for future research. The examples are drawn from past and ongoing extensive primary and secondary data collection efforts in diverse types of supply chains.

Findings

Three contexts are proposed to illustrate how intermediaries and digital governance can play a key role in helping supply chains tackle grand challenges. The first and second context highlight the differences between material and support flow intermediaries in a triadic supply chain relationship. The third context illustrates intermediation within a multi-level network which can be industry-specific or span across industries. The three contexts are evaluated on the level of intervention, the focus on material or support flows, and traditional or digital governance. The specific Sustainable Development Goals which can be tackled through intermediary intervention are also indicated.

Originality/value

Intermediaries are often hidden actors in global supply chains and have received limited attention in the academic literature. The conceptual foundation provided in this manuscript serves as the basis for future research opportunities. Three main avenues for further research in this domain are proposed: (1) novel forms of intermediation beyond economic and transactional arrangements; (2) novel forms of digital governance; and (3) translating multi-level collective action into sustainable development outcomes. Research on intermediation driven by sustainable development and digitalization trends can spur empirical advances in sustainable supply chain and operations management with important societal impact.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 42 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 28 March 2006

Xufei Ma

The realities of economic life have forced most export-capable firms to “go global” because they will either “export or die” (Czinkota, Ronkainen, Moffett, & Moynihan, 2001

Abstract

The realities of economic life have forced most export-capable firms to “go global” because they will either “export or die” (Czinkota, Ronkainen, Moffett, & Moynihan, 2001). Exporting is the very first step of internationalization for many firms (Johanson & Vahlne, 1977; Cavusgil & Nevin, 1981) and most small businesses (Osborne, 1996). It continues to be an important mode of internationalization for firms (Charles & Beamish, 2003) and management research on export development has become “one of the most pioneering, established and mature streams of the export literature” (Leonidou & Katsikeas, 1996).

Details

Relationship Between Exporters and Their Foreign Sales and Marketing Intermediaries
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-397-6

Book part
Publication date: 28 November 2016

Jennifer Smith Maguire and Dunfu Zhang

Previous research suggests that constructions of legitimacy play a central role in the development of markets, yet little attention has been given to how that legitimacy…

Abstract

Purpose

Previous research suggests that constructions of legitimacy play a central role in the development of markets, yet little attention has been given to how that legitimacy is constructed through the material practices of market actors. This paper aims to address this gap via an examination of cultural intermediaries in the fine wine market of Shanghai.

Methodology/approach

An interpretive thematic analysis was carried out on data from 13 semi-structured interviews with fine wine intermediaries based primarily in Shanghai (5 wine writers/educators; 5 sommeliers/retailers; 3 brand representatives).

Findings

The dimensions of the legitimation of wine were examined, identifying three key themes: the legitimacy of intermediaries as experts; the legitimacy of a particular mode of wine consumption; the legitimacy of the intermediaries as exemplars for not-yet-legitimate consumers. These findings suggest that cultural intermediaries’ personal, consuming preferences and practices are significant to the formation of a new market, and that they must negotiate potential tensions between interactions with legitimate, not-yet-legitimate and illegitimate consumers.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations with regard to generalizability are discussed with regard to potential future research.

Social implications

The focus on cultural intermediaries and dimensions of legitimation can be used to examine the case of other emerging markets to anticipate the pathways to institutionalizing new forms of taste and consumption practices.

Originality/value

The paper offers an empirical insight into the market dynamics of distinction in the Shanghai wine market and conceptual insight into the importance of cultural intermediaries as exemplar consumers.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-495-2

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Romain Boulongne, Arnaud Cudennec and Rodolphe Durand

This chapter studies the conditions under which market intermediaries reward or sanction market actors who deviate from the prevailing categorical order. The authors first…

Abstract

This chapter studies the conditions under which market intermediaries reward or sanction market actors who deviate from the prevailing categorical order. The authors first assess how the expertise of a market intermediary – an understudied determinant of their authority – can lead to a positive evaluation of categorical deviation. Then, the authors identify two inhibitors that are likely to temper such positive appraisal: identity preservation and competition among market intermediaries. Factoring in both micro-level and macro-level dimensions of market dynamics, this chapter contributes to research on market intermediaries, the evolution of category systems, and more broadly, to the microfoundations of institutional change.

Details

Microfoundations of Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-123-0

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 28 March 2006

Bent Petersen, Torben Pedersen and Gabriel R.G. Benito

For many exporting firms, success in foreign markets hinges to a large extent on the performance of their foreign intermediaries (Albaum, Strandskov, & Duerr, 2002; Ellis

Abstract

For many exporting firms, success in foreign markets hinges to a large extent on the performance of their foreign intermediaries (Albaum, Strandskov, & Duerr, 2002; Ellis, 2000; Root, 1987). In spite of the key role played by intermediaries in foreign markets – i.e. sales agents and independent distributors (Solberg & Nes, 2002) – exporters often regard them as temporary arrangements and second-best alternatives to conducting foreign marketing, sales, and service activities in-house. The typical assumption is that foreign intermediaries are low-control entry modes (Hill, 2003; Root, 1987) that do not have the potential of exploiting the full sales potential of export markets. In other words, foreign intermediary arrangements could have inherent limitations that foster mediocre rather than excellent market performance. Several studies report that exporters generally distrust foreign intermediaries and suspect them of shirking at any given occasion (Beeth, 1990; Nicholas, 1986; Petersen, Benito, & Pedersen, 2000). Poor performance is sometimes expected. On the other hand, foreign intermediaries often find that exporters put in place incentive structures that do not induce them to achieve excellent performance. Hence, it is asserted that foreign intermediaries may deliberately seek mediocrity rather than very poor or outstanding performance.

Details

Relationship Between Exporters and Their Foreign Sales and Marketing Intermediaries
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-397-6

Book part
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Jérôme Pélisse

Legal intermediation is an emerging theoretical concept developed to grasp the importance of the process and actors who contribute to legal endogenization, in particular…

Abstract

Legal intermediation is an emerging theoretical concept developed to grasp the importance of the process and actors who contribute to legal endogenization, in particular in the field of economic activities and work governed by various public regulations. This chapter proposes to extend the analytical category of legal intermediary to all actors who, even if they are not legal professionals, deal on a daily basis with legal categories and provisions. In order to deepen our understanding of these actors and their contribution to how organizations frame legality, this chapter investigates four examples of legal intermediaries who are not legal professionals. Based on field surveys conducted over the past 15 years in France on employment policy, industrial relations, occupational health and safety regulation, and forensic economics, I make three contributions. First, the cases show the diversity of legal intermediaries and their growing and increasingly reflexive roles in our complex economies. Second, while they are not legal professionals per se, to different degrees, these legal intermediaries assume roles similar to those of legal professionals such as legislators, judges, lawyers, inspectors, cops, and even clerks. Finally, depending on their level of legitimacy and power, I show how legal intermediaries take part in the process of legal endogenization and how they more broadly frame ordinary legality.

Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2019

Shauhin Talesh and Jérôme Pélisse

This article explores how legal intermediaries facilitate or inhibit social change. We suggest the increasing complexity and ambiguity of legal rules coupled with the…

Abstract

This article explores how legal intermediaries facilitate or inhibit social change. We suggest the increasing complexity and ambiguity of legal rules coupled with the shift from government to governance provide legal intermediaries greater opportunities to influence law and social change. Drawing from new institutional sociology, we suggest rule-intermediaries shape legal and social change, with varying degrees of success, in two ways: (1) law is filtered through non-legal logics emanating from various organizational fields and (2) law is professionalized by non-legal professionals. We draw from case studies in the United States and France to show how intermediaries facilitate or inhibit social change.

Details

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-727-1

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 April 2022

Alberto Rojas-Bueno, Pilar Alarcón-Urbistondo and Eva María González-Robles

Meetings, incentives, conventions/conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism is a segment of business travel, which is experiencing a process of disintermediation. Using…

Abstract

Purpose

Meetings, incentives, conventions/conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism is a segment of business travel, which is experiencing a process of disintermediation. Using the value chain concept, this study aims to analyze the role and value of intermediaries in the MICE value chain. As the interests and perceptions of stakeholders are different, the authors also study if there is consensus or dissonance in their opinion.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses mixed methods. First, by means of interviews with MICE professionals to identify the research variables and validate the test sample and questionnaire. Then, an international survey, which uses logistic regressions to identify the variables that support value. The post-hoc ANOVA test identifies the differences of opinions and determines the existence of consensus or dissonance.

Findings

Incoming agents create value by means of convenience and good rates and outbound agents by trust. The incoming agent is more valued and enjoys a position of power and therefore has more chances of remaining active in the market. However, there is no consensus about the role of intermediaries, hotels being the most dissonant stakeholder.

Originality/value

Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of disintermediation, this study uses a multifaceted perspective to identify the reasons that lead to value creation by intermediaries. This is vital for MICE stakeholders to acknowledge disintermediation and act consequently. Conclusions can also provide valuable guidance for intermediaries in other business to business interactions to better understand their value, competitive advantages and position of power.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 April 2021

Emi Moriuchi

The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of country-of-origin (COO) cues and pricing perspective based on the third-party seller's name, intermediary, on…

1058

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of country-of-origin (COO) cues and pricing perspective based on the third-party seller's name, intermediary, on consumers' purchasing decisions on e-commerce sites. A model was proposed to investigate consumers' perception toward sellers' online reputation, the mediating role of trust between the reputation of third-party sellers and attitude toward e-commerce as an intermediary, and attitude toward third-party sellers. In addition, this study also looks at the pricing threshold of consumers who are willing to buy from a third-party seller that has a negative COO cue, which is an area that has received limited attention in e-commerce studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper opted for an experimental study using survey data gathered from general American consumers. Two studies were conducted. One hundred seventy surveys were gathered for study 1, and 171 surveys were gathered for study 2. The two studies had two product snippets which showed an Amazon product page with a list of third-party sellers. For study 2, all variables were kept the same – reviews and ratings for both products and sellers, delivery time, descriptions, e-commerce as an intermediary and brand of a bag – except for the price.

Findings

The findings showed that consumers' perceived reputation of a third-party seller has a positive impact on their attitude toward the seller and toward the e-commerce intermediary. In addition, the role of a positive COO influences attitudes and intentions. However, this influence is moderated by price when price is noticeably higher when compared to an alternative option provided by a seller from a country with a lower COO evaluation. This study suggests that the benefits of a positive COO diminish when a seller with a lower COO evaluation is able to provide a lower price for the product. In study 1, the results show that positive COO trumps negative COO. In study 2, the result shows that consumers lean toward a lower-price product and disregard their evaluation toward the COO. Furthermore, in study 2, results show that in order for the pricing to offset the negative COO attributes of a third-party seller, the price needs to be within 22–30% lower than the American seller's product pricing.

Research limitations/implications

With the chosen research approach, the research results may lack generalizability for the other markets (e.g. Asian consumer market). Therefore, researchers are encouraged to test the proposed propositions further.

Originality/value

This study highlights the implications of COO cues such as sellers' names and how they impact consumers' willingness to purchase a product. The second study investigates consumers' willingness to purchase when the pricing for a product sold by a negative COO seller versus a positive COO seller is different in an e-commerce environment. In addition, the second study determines that the role of trust has more impact on consumers' attitude toward a third-party seller than it has on their attitude toward the e-commerce intermediary.

Details

International Marketing Review, vol. 38 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-1335

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 November 2021

Yuan Virtanen, Asta Salmi and Xiao Qin

Sourcing intermediaries, commonly known as agents or trading companies, represent a useful organisational solution for assisting companies to manage supply risks and to…

Abstract

Purpose

Sourcing intermediaries, commonly known as agents or trading companies, represent a useful organisational solution for assisting companies to manage supply risks and to overcome the liability of foreignness. However, the landscape of global business is experiencing rapid and fundamental changes, which leads us to ask whether intermediaries will continue to play a role in global sourcing. This paper aims to understand how sourcing intermediaries ensure a lasting position in the changing setting of global sourcing and information sharing.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper investigates the operations of both Chinese and Nordic (Finnish and Swedish) intermediaries in sourcing from China by analysing qualitative data collected over a period of four years.

Findings

Through the lens of information asymmetry, this paper identifies four distinct informational roles that are used by intermediaries to reduce information asymmetry between suppliers and buyers located in different countries. The paper also examines intermediaries’ signalling activities under these roles in a cross-border triad.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the scientific debate on the usefulness of intermediaries by underlining intermediaries’ informational advantage, which provides a new explanation for the survival of intermediaries in a rapidly changing business context. Additionally, this study contributes to research on intermediation strategies by empirically examining both Chinese and Western intermediaries, highlighting the importance of institutional contexts in affecting intermediaries’ informational roles.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 37 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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