In fierce market competition, the marketing channel plays an important role. A good marketing channel determines if a company's products can be successful in the market or not. Therefore, the marketing channel is a very important issue for the manufacturers. In the marketing channel, the behaviors of the channel members and their level of cooperation and/or conflict are a central issue. Although many scholarly articles have been published about the marketing channel behavior, focusing either on the personal relationship or the inter-organizational relationship, few people combined these two variables in a study. This dissertation investigates the personal relationship and the inter-organizational relationship between channel members in China as the research platform. We test the influence on channel member‘s cooperation and conflict if personal relationships and inter-organizational relationships are mutually controlling variables.
This dissertation first presents a literature review about the personal relationship, the inter-organizational relationship, the marketing channel cooperation, and the perceived marketing channel conflict. After that, the research model is presented and its relationship with previous research is highlighted. To test this model, six hypotheses are proposed and tested through a survey (n=508), statistical analysis using SPSS and AMOS was used to test the model and the hypotheses. Finally, a general discussion highlighting the main theoretical and managerial contributions of this research is presented, and limits and avenues for future research are highlighted.
After the research, we noticed that the personal relationship and the inter-organizational relationship are positively correlated, and both have a positive influence on the marketing channel cooperation between the channel members. Also, they have no significant influence on the perceived marketing channel conflict between the channel members.
These findings help us to unveil the mysteries of the personal relationship with Chinese characteristics. They also help us to better understand the influence of the personal relationship and the inter-organizational relationship that are controlling variables mutually on the marketing channel behaviors. The research enriches the marketing channel behavior theories and provides a basis of theory on how to handle the marketing channel relationship and resolve the marketing channel conflict for Chinese enterprises and foreign investors, and provide better service for the practice.