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17-11-2018 | Original Empirical Research | Issue 6/2019

Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 6/2019

Network embeddedness as a dependence-balancing mechanism in developing markets: differential effects for channel partners with asymmetric dependencies

Journal:
Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science > Issue 6/2019
Authors:
Maggie Chuoyan Dong, Fue Zeng, Chenting Su
Important notes
Shrihari Sridhar served as special issue guest editor for this article.

Abstract

Channel relationships with dependence asymmetry, which are especially harmful to partners with dependence disadvantage, abound in developing markets. To help these dependence-disadvantaged parties find feasible solutions for dependence balancing, this study examines network embeddedness and its differential role in enforcing the counterpart’s relationship-specific investments (RSIs), thus leading to improved channel performance for both partners. Based on the political economy framework, we posit that a dependence-disadvantaged partner’s embeddedness in business and government networks entices its partner to commit more RSIs, which in turn improve its channel performance; conversely, such an effect is weaker for the dependence-advantaged partner. We also predict that under high dependence asymmetry, a dependence-disadvantaged partner’s embeddedness in the business network will exert a smaller effect, but its embeddedness in the government network will exert a larger effect. We collected dyadic survey data of buyer–supplier pairs in consumer product industries in China. In general, the results provide support for our predictions. The findings provide theoretical and managerial implications for partners in asymmetric channel relationships in developing markets.

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