Network embeddedness as a dependence-balancing mechanism in developing markets : differential effects for channel partners with asymmetric dependencies

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Online published17 Nov 2018
Publication statusOnline published - 17 Nov 2018


Channel relationships with dependence asymmetry, which are especially harmful to partners with dependence disadvantage, abound in developing markets. To help these dependence-disadvantaged parties find feasible solutions for dependence balancing, this study examines network embeddedness and its differential role in enforcing the counterpart’s relationship-specific investments (RSIs), thus leading to improved channel performance for both partners. Based on the political economy framework, we posit that a dependence-disadvantaged partner’s embeddedness in business and government networks entices its partner to commit more RSIs, which in turn improve its channel performance; conversely, such an effect is weaker for the dependence-advantaged partner. We also predict that under high dependence asymmetry, a dependence-disadvantaged partner’s embeddedness in the business network will exert a smaller effect, but its embeddedness in the government network will exert a larger effect. We collected dyadic survey data of buyer–supplier pairs in consumer product industries in China. In general, the results provide support for our predictions. The findings provide theoretical and managerial implications for partners in asymmetric channel relationships in developing markets.

Research Area(s)

  • Channel relationships, Dependence asymmetry, Network embeddedness

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