European Business Schools Librarian's Group

IESE Research Papers,
IESE Business School

No D/380: Channel strategy adaptation

V. Kasturi Rangan and Jose L. Nueno ()
Additional contact information
V. Kasturi Rangan: Harvard Business School
Jose L. Nueno: IESE Business School, Postal: IESE Business School. Research Division, Av Pearson 21, 08034 Barcelona, SPAIN

Abstract: Using transaction cost theory, considerable research in marketing has focused on the conditions under which firms would use direct or vertically integrated versus indirect or arms length channels of distribution. Data from the field, however, indicate that channel configurations are more varied and complex, with multiple channels and composite channels being just as common as direct and indirect channels. In an attempt to explain this variety, this paper revisits the influence on channel structure of another contending variable, namely environmental complexity. We explore the role and influence of its two components, namely volatility (stability) and heterogeneity (homogeneity). Our study of 139 firms in the healthcare industry reveals that firms facing highly volatile and customer concentrated environments tend to use direct channels, and firms facing highly stable and heterogeneous environments tend to use distribution channels. Intermediate forms such as composite channels and multiple channels were favored by firms facing combinations of the environment where the intensity of one component was high and the other low. In general, firms seem to first choose a business strategy to address their external environment, and then choose a channel strategy to support that business strategy. Firms did not always adapt by making structural changes. Under certain conditions, they simply reallocated channel functions within the same structure, thus virtually deriving all the benefits of a new structure without having to create one.

Keywords: marketing; channels of distribution

23 pages, February 15, 1999

Full text files

DI-0380-E.pdf PDF-file 

Download statistics

Questions (including download problems) about the papers in this series should be directed to Noelia Romero ()
Report other problems with accessing this service to Sune Karlsson ().

This page generated on 2024-02-05 15:47:28.