The effects of the intensity of conflict and commitment on marketing channel partnership survival

Elizabeth F Purinton, University of Rhode Island


The survival of marketing channel partnerships is important to both the buyer and the seller. Dissolution would entail loss of sales and partnership-specific assets, and would require outlay of time, money and effort to find and invest in a new partnership. Unfortunately for both practitioners and academicians, little is known about the maintenance and dissolution of partnerships despite the call for research put forth by Frazier (1983, 1999), Dwyer, Schurr and Oh (1987), and Ping (1993). ^ The intent of this paper is to examine several relationships within partnership dynamics. First, are the roles of commitment and conflict and their potential influence on survival and dissolution of the partnership. Secondly, is to test whether there are behaviors that can be linked to survival. Thirdly, is to examine the impact of those antecedent variables, commitment and conflict, on those observable conflict response behaviors. ^ Different frameworks for outcomes will be reviewed and extensions suggested, among them Hirschman's (1970) Exit Voice Loyalty model (and Rusbult's (1983) extension—Exit Voice Loyalty Neglect), Rosenbloom's (1973) model of channel efficiency and Thomas' (1976, 1990) conflict response behavior taxonomy. Drawing upon these theories will result in an integrated model of channel partnership survival. The proposed study will enhance understanding of antecedents to constructive and destructive behaviors during conflict and of which partnerships will survive. ^ From this model of channel partnership survival, hypotheses were articulated and a program of study suggested and begun. After development and refinement of the data collection instrument, data were collected from professional purchasing agents, analyzed and results discussed. ^ One of the most interesting and important findings of the study was that partners' response to conflict had a stronger impact on partnership survival than did level of conflict. The implication of this finding, combined with the lack of a relationship between passive behaviors and survival, leads to the most important implication for marketing channel members. Channel partners need to take a proactive approach to management of their partnership, encouraging collaboration and other vocal behaviors. ^ Finally, suggestions were made for future research and practical implication for channel partners discussed. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Marketing

Recommended Citation

Elizabeth F Purinton, "The effects of the intensity of conflict and commitment on marketing channel partnership survival" (2001). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3025576.