A Model of Distributor Firm and Manufacturer Firm Working Partnerships Author(s): James C. Anderson and James A. Narus
Source: Journal of Marketing, Vol. 54, No. 1 (Jan., 1990), pp. 42-58 Published by: American Marketing Association
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James C. Anderson & James A. Narus
A model of distributor firm and manufacturer firm working partnerships is presented and is assessed empirically on a sample of distributor firms and a sample of manufacturer firms. A multiple-informant research method is employed. Support is found for a number of the hypothesized construct relations and, in both manufacturer firm and distributor firm models, for the respecification of cooperation as an antecedent rather than a consequence of trust. Some implications for marketing practice are discussed briefly.
ARKETPLACE trends have underscored the
need for a better understanding of working partnerships between manufacturer firms and distributor firms. Sales through wholesaler-distributors have been
growing at a rate faster than the U.S. gross national
product (GNP) and topped the $1.4 trillion mark in
1987 (Arthur Andersen & Co. 1987). In another trend,
significant consolidation is occurring in the wholesale-distribution industry as larger, professionally managed firms acquire smaller "mom-and-pop" firms
at a rapid rate. Finally, end-user or customer firms
have signalled through the growth of systems contracts and preferred vendor programs an increased desire to concentrate their purchases with fewer wholesaler-distributors, to whom they offer longer-term
JamesC.Anderson theWilliam Ford
in Management, Kellogg
James Narus Associate
School Management, Forest
Institute the Distribution
comments suggestions Erin
Weitz, thethreeanonymous reviewers, the assistance
commitments (Arthur Andersen & Co. 1987). As a
confluent result, manufacturer firms and distributor
firms are involved in fewer, but increasingly significant, working partnerships in which better coordination of marketing and technical activities is essential for their mutual success in the customer marketplace.
In this article, we report a study of distributor and
manufacturer working partnerships, which we define
as the extent to which there is mutual recognition and
understanding that the success of each firm depends
in part on the other firm, with each firm consequently
taking actions so as to provide a coordinated effort
focused on jointly satisfying the requirements of the
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