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Yingting Liu

DBA Graduate - 2019

Thesis title

Guanxi and opportunism in marketing channels: the interaction between formal and informal governance mechanisms

Supervisor(s)

Jie Yan
Purpose It is a popular phenomenon that both firm’s relationship behavior and opportunism behavior coexists in the marketing channel, but researchers ignored to explore how do governance mechanism influence them in the same study framework. Thus, this research aims to solve the puzzle by discussing the impact of formal and informal governance mechanism on them and its results. Design/methodology/approach Based on literature review, this study develops the research model and hypotheses about the relationship between governance mechanisms and firm’s behaviors and their results. The 190 usable data were collected from manufacturers in marketing channel, the reliability test, validity test as well as multivariable linear regression method are applied to test research model and hypotheses. Findings The results show that it is an inverted-U shaped impact relationship of contract safeguard on distributor’s relationship behaviors, and a negative impact of contract safeguard on distributor’s opportunism behaviors. Besides, it is found that there is a significant positive impact of contract coordination and personal relationship on distributor’s relationship behaviors, but has a significant negative impact on distributor’s opportunism behaviors. Furthermore, personal relationship is also plays a moderate variable role between the relationship of formal governance mechanisms and distributor’s behaviors. Lastly, distributor’s relationship behaviors would enhance the inter-organizational relationship quality, but distributor’s opportunism behaviors would destroy it. Research limitations/implications This research does not explore the impact of coercive power, noncoercive power on relationship behavior and opportunism behavior. Besides, there are many important forms of positive and negative behaviors that coexist in marketing channel. Lastly, the unilateral data were collected from the perspective of manufactor merely. Practical implications The dissertation includes some insights and implications for managers in understanding the contract safeguard function and coordination function, and their effects on transaction behaviors. It suggests firms to design different function clauses in contract explicitly, and encourage boundary spanners to develop close personal relationship. Originality/value The dissertation focus on firm’s relationship behavior and opportunism behavior in the same research framework, and to explore the impact of contractual governance and personal relationship on them as well as its results. In particular, both contact safeguard function and coordination function are considered in the formal governance mechanism. Thus, this study makes up for the deficiencies that previous studies focus on positive behavior or negative behavior merely in the research model. Furthermore, it also contributes to enrich the contractual governance in interorganizational relationship. Keywords contract safeguard; contract coordination; personal relationship; relationship behavior; opportunism behavior