Promotion and Prevention Contracts in Distributor–Supplier Relationship Using Matched Dyadic Data

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

1 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-124
Journal / PublicationJournal of Business-to-Business Marketing
Issue number2
Online published12 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


Purpose: This article aims to introduce and distinguish two features of contract design–prevention and promotion contracts–and compares their effects on opportunism within the distributor–supplier relationship. It also examines the moderating role of ex post contract enforcement strategies. 
Methodology/approach: The authors test the proposed theoretical model by collecting matched data from distributors and suppliers in China. Moreover, partial least squares regression is used to analyze the data and test the hypothesis model. 
Findings: The results show that a prevention contract leads the distributor to vigilantly avoid mistakes and punishments, thereby deterring him from behaving opportunistically. Alternatively, a promotion contract motivates the distributor to make an effort to attain potential long-run payoffs instead of short-term profits, subsequently restraining his opportunism. Overall, the promotion contract is more effective in curbing distributor opportunism than the prevention contract. In addition, the inhibitory effect of a prevention contract on opportunism is reinforced along with a severe contract enforcement strategy. By contrast, a promotion contract effectively mitigates opportunism with a swift contract enforcement strategy. 
Originality/value/contribution: This study untangles two distinctive features of contract design–prevention-framed and promotion-framed contracts–and compares their effects on opportunism management. This study also provides a profound understanding of contract effectiveness by revealing the interaction effect between ex ante contract design and ex post contract enforcement. 
Research implications: Researchers are encouraged to explore contract effectiveness from a framing perspective. In particular, ex post contract enforcement strategies should be included in research frameworks related to contract governance. Suggestions for further research on the effects of prevention and promotion contracts on different forms of opportunism are also proposed. 
Practical implications: This article provides several insightful implications for managers in designing and enforcing contract in business-to-business marketing. Managers can strategically achieve control and motivation effects by consciously making framing decisions in the contract design, further curbing opportunistic behaviors. Moreover, managers can select a contract enforcement strategy in accordance with the contract type to maximize the effects of the specific contract.

Research Area(s)

  • enforcement severity, enforcement speed, opportunism, prevention contract, Promotion contract