دانلود مقاله ISI انگلیسی شماره 23470
عنوان فارسی مقاله

آزمون فرض تعارض عملکرد در روابط تجاری بنگاه به بنگاه

کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
23470 2003 9 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید محاسبه نشده
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عنوان انگلیسی
Testing the conflict–performance assumption in business-to-business relationships
منبع

Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 32, Issue 2, February 2003, Pages 91–99

کلمات کلیدی
تعارض - عملکرد - کانال بازاریابی - روابط
پیش نمایش مقاله
پیش نمایش مقاله آزمون فرض تعارض عملکرد در روابط تجاری بنگاه به بنگاه

چکیده انگلیسی

There is little empirical research published testing the interdependency between conflict in business-to-business relationships and commercial performance. The “conflict–performance assumption”—all other factors being equal, relationships where conflict is low will outperform relationships where conflict levels are higher—remains central in the marketing channels' literature despite insufficient and contradictory empirical evidence. There are several explanations for the lack of a clear relationship between conflict and performance. Rosenbloom [J. Mark. 37 (1973) 26] theorises that the relationship between conflict and channel performance follows an inverted U-shaped curve, where conflict is most productive at moderate levels and least productive at very low or high levels. Others have argued for a simpler, linear relationship between conflict and performance, usually negative in nature. Various theories about the conflict–performance relationship are empirically tested in a large marketing channel, using a number of dyadic and monadic measures of conflict (latent, perceived, and affective) and two objective measures of performance (effectiveness and efficiency). A linear model (performance declining as conflict increases) is adequate to explain the relationship between dyadic measures of both perceived and affective conflict and channel effectiveness. A threshold model is found to be superior to a linear model in explaining the relationship between dyadic measures of perceived and affective conflict and efficiency. Conflict increases slowly as efficiency falls until a threshold is reached when conflict escalates. Practical implications include that companies need to consider whether performance criteria affecting efficiency are as important to their business partners as those affecting effectiveness. If they are not, then business partners should be rewarded for meeting any such criteria that are more important to the one side of a relationship dyad than to the other.

مقدمه انگلیسی

Conflict is pervasive and virtually inevitable in business-to-business relationships and particularly when there is a functional interdependency between two businesses as in a marketing channel (e.g., [7], [29] and [32]). Conflict has been claimed to be the dominant form of interaction between members of a dependant dyad [30]. Intuitively, boundary managers should therefore attempt to restrict conflict to a functional level where it provides a constructive tension between the two organizations [41]. Once conflict levels escalate, it is seen as a major cause of falling performance [4] and [33], but there have been few empirical attempts to assess the conflict–performance relationship. Our main objectives in this paper are to explore the relationship empirically and to test various models to explain the phenomenon. 2. The conflict–performance assumption The “conflict–performance assumption”—all other factors being equal, relationships where conflict is low will outperform relationships where conflict levels are higher—remains central to the channels' literature despite insufficient and sometimes contradictory empirical evidence. Kelly and Peters [18] argued that conflict is negatively related to performance, but developed limited evidence to support the claim. Some empirical studies have found the expected inverse relationship between conflict and performance [8] and [11](Fig. 1a). However, Assael [3], in a 2-year exploratory study in franchise channels, found that in the presence of special requirements, conflict can be constructive and may have a positive impact on channel performance. Pearson [27] found no statistically significant difference in performance between channels with relationships characterised by conflict and those with relationships characterised by cooperation, while Rosson and Ford [35] found manifest conflict to correlate positively with performance. Lusch [24], in franchise channels, found that conflict between car manufacturers and their dealers did not always reduce performance.

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

We have measured performance in two ways, and conflict in a number of ways both monadically and dyadically, but our work provides no support for their being a maximum in the relationship between conflict and performance. The inverted-U theory is weakened by our results. There is evidence of a threshold effect between conflict and efficiency, something that has not been noted previously. Conflict appears to rise rapidly once the agent's efficiency falls below a threshold. It must be remembered that the agent here has limited incentive to improve upon this measure of performance by comparison with effectiveness. The relationship between effectiveness and conflict follows the negative relationship found in some earlier studies. A linear model of association is generally the most valid here or at least there is little reason to resort to a more complex model. The range of conflict scores ranged from the very lowest possible on the scales we used to the very highest. It is unlikely therefore that we have not sampled agents with whom there is a very low level of conflict, something that could have reduced confidence in the conclusion that an inverted-U model does not apply here. Instead, we would encourage others to look for a similar threshold effect in explaining how the association between conflict and performance can vary with conflict level. Although we measured conflict using a dyad, and have not included the principal's view separately, it is interesting to note that the principal's view was generally as useful as the dyadic measure in explaining performance. This implies that other studies should consider whether it is worth measuring both sides of the dyad when assessing any effect on performance. There are implications for practitioners from our work. Much time is spent in managing and resolving conflict in marketing channels and in other business-to-business relationships. It would appear from the results here that the commercial value in doing so may be limited in that there is no evidence of a positive effect of low levels of conflict improving performance. Secondly, conflict appears to relate more to efficiency than to effectiveness. The two parties are more in dispute about how the real performance issue, extra sales, should be improved than about the key performance issue itself. In this channel, error rates were of concern to the principal, in that too high a level threatened long-term business prospects, but this was not of immediate concern to the agent who did not benefit financially from any reduction in their error rate. Indeed, in talking with agents, it was clear that the opposite might be true. If the agent spent too much time checking details with their customers, the service such customers perceived the agent was providing was reduced. Customers wanted a quick service. Checking for errors slowed things up. If the principal wanted to reduce errors, then the agent should probably receive a financial incentive. An overemphasis on efficiency measures is not unique to this channel. Car distributors are often required to meet certain standards in presentation in their dealerships. It is only recently that they have been financially rewarded by manufacturers for doing so. Fast food franchisees have to comply with a wide range of standards as well as meeting sales targets. They often complain that restrictions on what they sell and how they sell have little to do with sales performance. What appears to matter in the relationships studied here is that if one party fails to meet certain levels of efficiency, conflict is triggered. They may still be effective and may still meet, for example, sales targets, and they do so despite falling below certain performance standards in the way they achieve such targets. It is easy to understand how one party might object to being told ‘how’ they should meet a sales target if they are already meeting or exceeding that sales target. Conflict will be centred around the secondary issue of efficiency. One option for the principal or any party who believes that certain efficiency targets are worth achieving for either a short- or long-term commercial benefit would be to reward efficiency as much as effectiveness. In the channel studied here, there is only a weak correlation (P=.08, single-tail test) between efficiency and effectiveness, and it would not be obvious to the agent that error rates and sales are linked. It should have been part of the principal's role to ensure that the agent perceived that the two were, ultimately, linked. Further work is clearly needed to examine the interaction of conflict and performance. Our study, as most studies in this field, is of a single channel in a single sector. However, we would expect our results to be relevant to any similar channel that is one where the balance of power favours the principal, which includes most franchises and agencies. Further work is needed in other contexts and it would be useful to see qualitative, as well as quantitative, studies as to how conflict emerges in any relationship. For example, are many conflicts centred around disagreements over effectiveness issues or are they more often caused by a failure to agree on or accept efficiency standards? Because we researched a single channel at a single point in time, there could be something unusual about the context that has produced a result that is not generalisable to other contexts. It is possible that the principal did not focus as much as they should on managing conflict constructively. If agents have sound ideas on how things should improve, then channel leaders should at least listen and some agents here complained that their ideas for increasing sales went unheeded. The principal's style was often coercive (I say you do…or else) rather than supportive (here is a good idea to improve both our businesses) in their central communications with agents. However, area managers tended to adopt a more supportive role, a style described by one area manager as ‘pastoral’ and so we do not believe that style was a significant issue. Our work has been from the marketing channels' perspective where a feature of such business-to-business relationships is that one member of the dyad is dependent upon the other to a significant extent. The conflict–performance assumption is not as prominent in other business-to-business literatures, probably due to a lack of interdependency in many other types of business-to-business relationships. In a relationship that is purely transactional, once conflict occurs, one party can and will end the relationship more easily than is possible in a marketing channel where the exit costs are higher. However, in other types of relationship such as those typified by joint venture, alliance, or more loose forms of collaboration (where there are finite exit costs), we would expect to see similar issues and effects. It would be interesting to replicate our study within a wider variety of contexts. Finally, we have not attempted to investigate here the direction of the conflict–performance relationship. We imply in the case of efficiency that performance drives conflict, as it is difficult to see how the reverse is true for Fig. 2. In the case of effectiveness, we cannot make such a suggestion, and indeed, would argue that it would be logical for the two to covary rather than for one to always cause the other. For example, a high level of conflict caused by agent frustration over the principal's emphasis on efficiency could drive the agent to concentrate more on the second business, thus causing a decline in sales of the principal's products. Alternatively, a sudden decline in sales could initiate immediate conflict between agent and principal.

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