TitleInterdependence and its Consequence in Distributor-Supplier Relationships: A Distributor Perspective Through Response Surface Approach
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsKim, S, Hsieh, P-H
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Pagination101 - 112
Date Published2003
KeywordsMarketing, Supply Chain

Interdependence and its consequences in marketing channels have received substantial research attention, but two issues remain unresolved. First, the validity of the extant methods to measure interdependence has not been verified, and those methods have not been contrasted. Second, the impact of interdependence on an outcome variable is difficult to analyze and its potential to provide managerial insight hampered. To address those gaps, the authors first review prior approaches. The review of prior approaches raises key methodological and theoretical issues in measuring interdependence and analyzing its impacts, including the additivity of distributor and supplier dependences for measurement of interdependence and the nonlinear functional forms of dependences for the impact of interdependence.The authors use the response surface approach (RSA) and derive three managerial insights that can be garnered from its use: interdependence for the highest (lowest) level of an outcome, directions for change in interdependence, and change in outcome when receding from the ideal combination. They apply RSA to the relationship between interdependence and three outcome variables—distributor commitment, bilateral communication, and supplier control—in industrial distributor”supplier relationships and contrast it with previous methods.
The empirical study results suggest that (a) distributors perceive differential effects of supplier dependence and distributor dependence on outcome variables and (b) highest magnitude and lowest asymmetry of interdependence do not lead to the highest distributor commitment or supplier control. From a distributor's standpoint, highest commitment and supplier control occur when distributor dependence is high and supplier dependence is modest. The following implications emerge: Distributor dependence and supplier dependence must be decoupled and treated separately. Distributor dependence can be encouraged and nurtured, while supplier dependence needs to be kept moderate. A supplier's too little or too great dependence on a distributor will deteriorate channel outcomes, at least from a distributor's point of view.