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Question:What is channel conflict?

Answer:Imagine any two parties and their relationship. Take a manufacturer and a distributor, for example. According to research in channels of distribution, we know that the key idea for understanding their relationship is each party’s perceived "dependence". In particular, we want to know how each party perceives their own dependence in the relationship and also how they perceive the other party’s dependence in the relationship.

If the two parties perceive they are mutually dependent, a healthy relationship can persist. If the two parties perceive they are mutually independent, a healthy relationship can also exist (although it won’t be a close relationship). Problems arise when one entity perceives they are more dependent on the other than vice versa.

Asymmetric Dependence Leads to Channel Conflict
Notice I have used the word entity, not brick and mortar manufacturers or distributors. In fact, the research that supports this is found in marriage counseling, organizational theory, and marketing. So it can be applied quite widely (yes, good marriages are typically mutually dependent).


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