Home > Leadership > Poisoning Relationships: Perceived Unfairness in Channels of Distribution

Poisoning Relationships: Perceived Unfairness in Channels of Distribution

Poisoning Relationships: Perceived Unfairness in Channels of Distribution

Author(s): Stephen A. Samaha | Robert W. Palmatier | Rajiv P. Dant

Journal of Marketing

Abstract
Understanding how relationships are damaged is a critical component in building and preserving strong distribution channels. Using longitudinal data from a Fortune 500 firm and its channel members, this research shows that perceived unfairness truly acts as “relationship poison” by directly damaging relationships, aggravating the negative effects of both conflict and opportunism, and undermining the benefits of using contracts to manage channel relationships. Surprisingly, at low levels of perceived unfairness, conflict and opportunism have small or even insignificant effects on channel member outcomes, which implies that research investigating the negative impact of conflict and opportunism on exchange outcomes may need reevaluation because these effects are contingent and may vary depending on the levels of perceived unfairness. In addition, the findings support the premise that using contracts to manage channel relationships represents a double-edged sword that suppresses the negative effects of conflict and opportunism while aggravating the negative effect of unfairness.

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Categories: Leadership
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