هویت در سیستم های فرانشیز (فرانچایز) : نقش انجمن های فرانشیز
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2963||2011||21 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Retailing, Volume 87, Issue 3, September 2011, Pages 285–305
Utilizing theories of identity this article presents findings from a qualitative study regarding the significant role independent franchisee associations play within franchise systems. The data reveal that successful franchisee associations help manage the inherent tension that exists between cooperation and conflict in franchise relationships. A distinctive adaptive organizational identity provides an association the capability necessary to reframe its relationship with the franchisor as either combative or cooperative in response to changes in a franchisor's identity. Challenging the views of both franchisor stability and the dyadic form that franchisee–franchisor relationships assume, behavioral insight is provided into the actual functioning of franchise systems and new avenues are suggested for theory building in franchising.
“For the younger generation, of which I am a part, we must not take for granted ‘The Hard Way’ that our forefathers endured for this brand. They took the high road and worked arduously to pour a solid foundation so that the brand could be sustained. This foundation took years to perfect and must be maintained to preserve our heritage, our rights and our future. It is our responsibility and obligation to understand our heritage and our rights so that we may continue this great brand that the Colonel himself entrusted to us. We are a family, and I think you will see that reiterated throughout every page in this historical reflection. Family is what brought me to KFC and the AKFCF, and I have so many extended family members because of this affiliation.” Michelle Hunt – Editor AKFCF Quarterly (The KFC Franchisee Association Newsletter) The statement above from the KFC franchisee association newsletter highlights an organization that has real impact on the lived experiences of franchisees and the systems in which they operate but has been largely ignored in franchising research – the independent franchisee association. Although relationships among franchisees, have been found to influence franchisee attitudes and behavior (Dickey, 2003 and Kalnins and Chung, 2006) franchising researchers have just begun to acknowledge the existence of formal organizational structures that embody such relations (see Cochet and Ehrmann, 2007 and Lawrence and Kaufmann, 2010 for examples). Several researchers have recognized the potential countervailing power of these structures (i.e., Argyres and Liebeskind, 1999, Carney and Gedajlovic, 1991 and Grünhagen and Mittelstaedt, 2002), but none have examined how these associations actually function within franchise systems. This lack of research is surprising because independent franchisee associations have emerged as important, influential and prolific structures within modern franchise systems and have aroused a great deal of interest among practicing franchise lawyers (e.g., Barkoff and Green-Kelly, 2006, Burzych et al., 2004, Selden, 2000 and Spandorf and Barkoff, 2003). Moreover, as confirmed via the authors’ research all but eight of the top 20 largest franchise systems have currently active independent franchisee associations. Of the remaining eight McDonalds, Ace Hardware, Marriott, Hilton, Re/Max, Coldwell Banker, and Health Mart all have some kind of advisory councils comprised of franchisees. Furthermore, the Federal Trade Commission has recognized the potential influence of franchisee associations and as of July 1, 2008 amended its Franchise Rule mandating explicit disclosures in each system's Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) of the existence of any independent association (or alternative form of franchisee group) requesting such recognition. Just as initial explanations of franchising based on the assumption of single-unit franchising failed to consider the growth and impact of multi-unit franchising (Kaufmann, 1996 and Kaufmann and Dant, 1996), the general assumption that solitary franchisees act alone in dyadic relations with the franchisor ignores the complexity of inter-franchisee relations as they operate today. For the past 40 years, franchise research has been dominated by two such approaches (1) a focus on the structural characteristics of the franchise form and (2) an examination of the link between psychological traits of franchisees and their attitudes and behavior. Economic theories explaining franchising and the resultant structures of franchise systems enjoy a well deserved prominence in the literature (see Blair and Lafontaine 2005). The primary focus of that approach has been on understanding the incentives that achieve optimal efficiency within the franchise system (Brickley and Dark, 1987 and Rubin, 1978). However, the only relationship of interest is that between franchisor and franchisee and both parties are assumed to be context free economic actors. The second approach has been to examine the psychological traits of franchisees and link those traits to attitudes including satisfaction (Hing, 1995 and Morrison, 1997) and behaviors (Jambulingam and Nevin 1999). Again, the only examined relationship is between franchisor and franchisee, and franchisees are assumed to be individual psychological actors. Neither approach recognizes any social context or formal organization in which inter-franchisee relationships are enacted. With few exceptions the scope of franchising research has been limited to this dyadic model. Formalized inter-franchisee relationships and the potential of such groups in mediating the relationship between individual franchisees and the franchisor have not been considered as important components or influencers in the franchise system. Each franchise system is comprised of two distinct legal entities, the franchisee and franchisor, who although they are members of a single superorganization (Reve and Stern 1979) have both shared and competing goals. As the often used tagline of franchising, “work for yourself, not by yourself” illustrates, franchising agreements create a unique relationship between franchisor and franchisee. To outsiders the franchisee may resemble a quasi-employee of the firm and has been characterized as giving up his or her own identity to assume the identity of the franchisor (Caves and Murphy 1976). However, unlike an employee working within an authority based hierarchy, franchisees are legally independent contractors that typically view themselves as equal partners with the franchisor. The franchisee association resides within this complex superorganization and provides a way for these independent contractors to interact collectively with the franchisor. The interdependent relationship between franchisor and franchisees creates significant managerial challenges for both franchisee association leadership and franchise system corporate management as franchisee based organizations enact their unique, collective identity within franchise systems in somewhat the same way that unionized employees do within wholly owned firms. Collaborative relationships between system management and franchisee associations may lead to greater system wide efficiencies. However, associations that focus attention on their collaborative work with the franchisor and on accomplishing collective goals may be unable to control member perceptions of co-optation and fail to maintain their identity as legitimate autonomous bodies. Conversely, the countervailing power (Galbraith 1954) afforded such associations and the potential for adversarial relationships arising from in-group/out-group distinctions are a potentially powerful uniting force for franchisees looking to assert their role as autonomous agents. As such, franchisee associations can consciously fortify the identity disparity between franchisee and franchisor, building solidarity among their members by highlighting an adversarial combative relationship. When franchisee associations fail to temper this bias however, conflict between franchisor and franchisee may spiral out of control and destroy any hope for working together for the good of the system. In examining the management of these franchisee associations, we seek to understand the role organizational identity plays in their maintenance. Because some independent franchisee associations endure while others fail, we ask the following questions: what characteristics give rise, and sustenance, to these organizations and how do these organizations manage the inherent tension between cooperation and conflict? Our data suggest that an adaptive association identity interacts with the perceived instability of franchisor identity to provide the critical factors determining their continued existence. In order to survive, franchisee associations, like labor unions, must strike the balance between cooperative and combative behavior (Hammer and Stern 1986) to assert both their autonomy and interdependence vis-à-vis the franchisor. Such shifts in identity accomplish the dual task of maintaining solidarity and control among their membership while also working constructively with their franchisor management team to foster efficient system operation and enact change when necessary. The purpose of this paper is to develop a theoretical framework to understand such identity dynamics at work within franchising. We propose that the creation and maintenance of an adaptive identity enables associations to react to changes in a franchisor's corporate identity, facilitating cooperative behavior with the franchisor while also working to temper the in-group/out-group bias that, while enhancing franchisee solidarity, threatens continued franchisee–franchisor collaboration. Utilizing theories of organizational identity to help interpret our findings in the field we work towards an emic understanding of the functioning of these independent franchisee associations. In doing so, we address the call for research that takes a phenomenological approach to the development of theory that challenges prior conceptualizations of franchising (Dant 2008). First we briefly review the relevant theory and describe the features of franchisee associations. Then in the sections that follow, we use qualitative data to inductively build our conceptualization of a dynamic association identity around three key insights; (1) identity (in)stability (on the part of both franchisee and franchisor) as a key variable in understanding the functioning of franchisee associations, (2) the necessity of an adaptive association identity to temper intergroup bias and foster cooperation while maintaining solidarity among members and (3) the capability for such adaptation rooted in traditions, rituals and artifacts, free spaces, franchisee stability, democratic governance and financial resources. We then discuss our findings as they relate to the potential for further theory development on identity in franchising.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study represents the first step in a research program aimed at exploring the franchisee's relationship with the franchisor as embedded in a broader social structure. As revealed in our data, franchisees are not single economic actors simply reacting to economic incentive mechanisms but are social actors embedded within a complex set of interpersonal relationships. These inter-franchisee relationships have important implications for the management of franchise systems and for franchise research. The formalization of these relationships into persistent structures such as franchisee associations implies that there are additional entities within franchising that are in a position to interpret and frame franchisor incentives and monitoring behavior for their franchisee members. It also implies that in mature systems collective action may well be more likely than individual action when reacting to franchisor initiatives. These are realities that should be accounted for in our models of franchising. A second finding is also worth reiterating. A maturing US franchise industry has resulted in an environment where an increasing number of franchisees work in franchise systems that are owned by large corporations or private equity groups with high levels of turnover among management. Many of the multi-generational franchisees we encountered in these systems perceive their relationship with the brand as more enduring than those of the current owner or management team. As system growth comes increasingly from within, this perception will only intensify. This narrative requires a reassessment of standard assumptions regarding the internal functioning of franchise systems and the actual roles, power and incentives of franchisor and franchisees within those systems. Executive summary Franchising research has for the most part viewed franchisees in their relation to franchisors as wholly independent, context free, economic actors. Such an approach fails to acknowledge any social context or formal organization in which inter-franchisee relationships are enacted. Though such organizations in the form of independent franchisee associations, franchisee advisory councils and ad hoc litigation groups exist and have a real impact in the majority of franchise systems, research has failed to explore such structures. This paper explores one specific type of franchisee based organization, the independent franchisee association, and argues that in order to survive, these structures must maintain adaptive identities that can shift between static cooperative or combative identity frames in response to perceived changes in the identity of the franchisor. In doing so, this paper also challenges assumptions regarding the relative stability of the franchisor vis-à-vis the franchisee. We find franchisors to be perceived as inconsistent and unreliable channel partners by many of the franchisees whom we interviewed. Three sources of data were used in this qualitative investigation including secondary data available via mass media channels and from association websites and literature, field notes taken during 13 days of participant observation at three franchisee association conferences, and interviews with 34 individuals with direct experience with franchisee associations. 19 unique associations in a range of systems at various stages of maturity and representing a wide variety of sectors were investigated. Data from these sources resulted in over 1600 pages of single spaced text which was analyzed for this study. Our findings suggest that in order to survive in the long run, franchisee associations must be viewed by their members as having an identity that is capable of being both cooperative and combative in its relationship to the franchisor. Because the core identity of the franchisor (as manifested in its distinctive set of goals and values) is perceived to be constantly in flux due to turnover in management or changes in ownership, associations must acquire the capability to adapt to those changes. In other words, as the experienced or expected identity of the franchisor changes from a benign, cooperative partner to an opportunistic, combative adversary or vice versa, the identity of the association must permit an appropriate response. Associations that endure are able to temper static identity states by managing overly combative or overly collaborative identity framing and by building a core identity distinctive from the franchisor. Five factors provide this adaptive capability including (1) financial resources, (2) democratic governance, (3) “free” spaces, (4) rituals, traditions and artifacts and (5) franchisee stability. First, a well funded association treasury allows for the hiring of boundary spanners and for the establishment of “war chests” that can quickly and credibly reframe the association's identity. Second, a representative political system including regularly occurring election cycles works to legitimize the organization's leadership while assuring their independence from the franchisor. Election cycles also provide an avenue to reframe the identity of the organization, as newly elected leaders can redefine their relationship with the franchisor. Third, to develop a strong distinctive organizational identity that is not simply referential to the franchisor in one way or the other, a franchisee association must create “free spaces” independent of the franchisor where franchisees can cultivate a distinctive core identity and react collectively to changes in franchisor identity. Fourth, associations that learn to utilize the rich set of traditions, rituals and artifacts embedded in the founder, brand, and fellow franchisees are able to imbue their associations with deep meaning and a coherent core identity. This provides it the capability to shift its identity subtly towards a cooperative or combative identity frame when needed. Fifth, stability among franchisees provides a communal structure and shared moral responsibility necessary for developing strong in-group distinctiveness. This distinctiveness is vital for maintaining group boundaries in light of collaborative work with the franchisor. Our findings have important implications for not only the survival of franchisee based organizations but for the management of franchise systems. The research points to identity management including perceptions of identity stability as critically important in managing the franchisor–franchisee relationship. Our findings suggest that many franchisors would be well served to carefully manage their identity during critical changes in leadership and ownership including transitions from the founder. Such management may include having legitimate claims to the meanings surrounding the brand and founder and countering perceptions of instability such changes may create. The concepts of brand, corporate identity and organizational identity have become cornerstones of managing relationships with consumers and employees, this paper points to the importance of identity in the management of an additional stakeholder, the franchisee.