Managing multichannel sales systems: managing manufacturer-sales partner relationships in B2B industries

Vomberg, Arnd ; Homburg, Christian ; Mühlhäuser, Stephan

Document Type: Conference presentation
Year of publication: 2018
Conference title: 8th annual Theory + Practice in Marketing (TPM) Conference
Location of the conference venue: Los Angeles, CA
Date of the conference: 17.05.2018
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > Empirische Forschungsmethoden (Juniorprofessur) (Vomberg 2014-2018)
Subject: 330 Economics
Abstract: The use of multiple sales channels has become standard in business-to-business (B2B) industries, increasing manufacturers’ challenge in managing their sales partners. However, thus far, previous research has largely neglected the possible value of bureaucratic governance mechanisms for achieving beneficial sales partner behavior in multichannel sales systems. The authors draw on behavioral agency theory and compile a cross-sectional primary and partially dyadic dataset of B2B multichannel manufacturers and related sales partners, enriched by archival data. They investigate the influence of the bureaucratic governance mechanisms of formalization and centralization on the performance of the various members of a multichannel system. Notably, the study’s results show a comprehensive positive performance effect of formalization for multichannel manufacturers and their sales partners. In contrast, centralization negatively influences the entire multichannel system. Additionally, the authors apply a contingency perspective and develop two important characteristics of multichannel systems: multichannel variety and multichannel indirectness. In general, these characteristics strengthen the positive (negative) performance effects of formalization (centralization) for both manufacturers and sales partners.

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