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• A channel conflict may be defined as “A situation in which one channel member perceives another channel member(s) to be engaged in behavior that prevents it from achieving its goals”. • Conflict is opposition, disagreement or discard among the organizations.
• It is needed to have positive effect as loopholes in the existing system can be plugged timely and performance can be maximized. • It can keep other channel members on their toes knowing that a decline in performance might lead to a change in the channel arrangements.Channel Conflict • Conflict is not always undesirable. .
e. This is due to the separate or un-conflicting goals. two organizations can perceive that they are in disagreement but their individual members do not consider it as a very serious issue. the relationship and the tensions differently.Types of conflict • Each channel member views the conflict. or of intensions exists. They do not fully sense the conflict. . of interest. • Perceived conflict – The channel members sense that some sort of opposition of perceptions. Following are the types of channel conflicts – • Latent conflict – The channel members may be unaware about the opposition. It is more psychological. i.
obvious and sometimes desirable too due to the interdependence of channel members on each other. .Types of conflict • Felt conflicts – When channel members not only perceive the opposition or disagreement but also feel it actually they are felt or affective conflicts. It is common. it becomes functional conflict. • Functional Conflict – When channel members accept that there is opposition and disagreement but actually. This needs to be sorted out at a early stage to avoid further consequences. • Manifest Conflict – If felt conflicts are not managed in time and properly. this opposition will improve their relationship. they can become manifest or overt conflicts and these conflicts stop the cooperation and understanding between two organizations and block the other from achieving its goals.
Conflicts can also be classified as • • • • Vertical conflict Horizontal conflict Inter type conflict Multi Channel conflict .
.Vertical conflicts • Vertical conflicts occur due to the differences in goals and objectives.g. For e. Today the large retailers dominate the market and dictate the terms. Hence there are often conflicts between these giant retailers and the manufacturers. and mainly due to the poor communication • Lack of role clarity and over dependence on the manufacturers. misunderstandings.
channel conflict results. . In turn. retailers and manufacturers expect wholesalers to provide coordination functional services.• Wholesalers expect manufacturers to maintain the product quality and production schedules and expect retailers to market the products effectively. If they fail to conform each others expectations.
manufacturers may bypass intermediaries and sell directly to consumers and thus they compete with the intermediaries. i. . • Over saturation.e.Some common reasons for vertical conflict are • Dual distribution i. manufacturers permit too many intermediaries in a designated area that can restrict. reduce sales opportunities for individual dealer and ultimately shrink their profits.e.
• New channels.• Partial treatment. i.e. manufacturers offer different services and margins to the different channels members even at same level or favor some members. .e. manufacturers develop and use innovative channels that create threat to establish channel participants. i.
• Irregular communication. . non cooperation and rude behavior with the channel members.• No or inadequate sales support and training to intermediaries from the manufacturers.
• Delays in delivering the products or sometimes dispatching the products without confirmed order. high stock holding and dumping the stock at the intermediaries. repairing services. • Refusal to replace or take back the goods damaged in transit. Non co-operation in replacement of faulty goods. . and installations.• Stipulation of ordering in advance.
Margins / commissions are not sufficient and there is no periodic revision of commission and other terms .• No co-operative advertisements. • No or inadequate credit offered to the intermediaries. Manufacturers do not share any expenses of advertisements.
• Intermediaries encourage customers to switch to private labels / competitive products. • Intermediaries carry competing lines and give more showroom space. .Conflicts due to the Intermediaries Actions • Intermediaries promote and sell more private labels than promoting the manufacturer’s brands.
• No support in the manufacturer’s promotional efforts. . • Intermediaries fail to get the expected / promised efforts. • Intermediaries fail to collect payment from market in stipulated time.
.• Intermediaries deliberately cut the prices to harm the manufacturers. • Intermediaries refuse to service and install manufacturer’s products. • No appropriate and timely market feedback and report to the manufacturers.
i. . two or more retailers.e. These conflicts can offer some positive benefits to the consumers. Competition or a price war between two dealers or retailers can be in favor of the consumers.Horizontal conflicts • Horizontal conflicts are the conflicts between the channel members at the same level. two or more franchisees etc.
Reasons behind horizontal conflicts Price-off by one dealer / retailer can attract more customers of other retailers. . • Aggressive advertising and pricing by one dealer can affect business of other dealers.
• Crossing the assigned territory and selling in other dealers / retailers / franchises area.Reasons behind horizontal conflicts • Extra service offered by one dealer / retailer can attract customers of others. . • Unethical practices or malpractices of one dealer or retailer can affect other and spoil the brand image.
. Large retailers often offer a large variety and thus they compete with small but specialized retailers.Inter Type conflict • Inter type conflict occurs when. the Intermediaries dealing in a particular product starts trading outside their normal product range. For example. now the supermarkets such as Foodworld also sell vegetables and fruits and thus compete with small retailers selling these products. This concept is called as “Scrambled Merchandising” where the retailers keep the merchandise lines that are outside their normal product range.
i.Multi-channel Conflict • Multi-channel conflict occurs when the manufacturer uses a dual distribution strategy. • Manufacturers can sell directly through their exclusive showroom or outlets. the manufacturer uses two or more channel arrangements to reach to the same market.e. . This act can affect the business of other channels selling manufacturer’s brands.
Conflict becomes more intense in this case as the large retailers can enjoy more customers and so the profit due to offering more variety and still economical prices. . which is possible due to a volume purchase.Multi-channel Conflict • Manufacturers can bypass the wholesalers and sell directly to the large retailers.
It is important to find out the root cause behind the conflict so that appropriate technique can be used to resolve the conflicts and lasting effect is possible. In channel management. which cannot be eliminated. .Resolving Channel Conflicts • Conflict is a natural phenomenon. Certain conflicts are constructive too. Various techniques can be used to resolve the conflicts. institutions are involved and they are interdependent. it is a inevitable as many individuals. • The conflicts can be reduced and managed better to reduce the friction in the channel management.
Some techniques are as follows • Channel leadership – Many channel conflicts can be resolved through the effective channel leadership. Channel power is the ability of one channel member to influence another member’s marketing decisions and goal achievement. The channel leader controls resources on which other members depend. Channel leader is able to reduce conflicts because he possesses the channel power. It enables the leader to influence overall channel performance. Channel power can increase conflict and reduce cooperation if one channel member uses coercion to influence others. .
It can reduce the misunderstanding and conflicts can be reduced substantially through this communication.• Adoption of Super ordinate goals – The channel members come to an agreement on the fundamental goal they are jointly seeking. . Each will grow to appreciate the others point of view and carry more understanding when returning to their position. • Exchange of persons between two or more channel levels – This helps in better understanding. high quality or customer satisfaction. whether it is survival. market share.
Co-optetion can reduce conflict provided both the parties compromise some or the other issues in order to win the support of the other side. board of directors so that they feel that their opinions are being heard.• Co-Opt – It is an effort by one organization to win the support of the leaders of another organization by including them in advisory councils. .
It makes sense to assign diplomats to work more or less continuously with each other to avoid the conflicts.• Joint membership in and between trade associations – Such associations bring all participants under one roof for more exposure to the public and to improve relations with each other by understanding their problems. • Diplomacy – Diplomacy takes pace when each side sends a person or a group to meet with their counterpart from the other side to resolve the conflict. .
. which are not involved or not the part of the existing channel. – Arbitration – In this method.• Third-Party Mechanisms – When conflict is chronic. and the above mentioned techniques are ineffective. the two parties agree to present their arguments to a third party and accept arbitration decisions. both the parties may have to resort to third parties.
Mediators help the parties to set up their own decisions whereas in arbitration it can be compulsory.Mediation – Mediation implies resorting to a neutral third party who brings skills in conciliating the interests of the two parties. Mediator has a fresh view of the situation and may perceive opportunities that insiders cannot. . Effective mediation succeeds in clarifying facts and issues. Mediation is the process whereby a third party attempts to secure settlement of a dispute by persuading the parties either to continue their negotiations or to consider procedural recommendations that mediator may make.
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