Perceptual difference of dependence and trust in marketing channel: reconsideration of dependence measurement

Abstract

In dyadic business relationships, different levels of interdependence can form which, in turn, develop various levels of trust. We propose and test the three aspects of interdependence—mutual dependence, dependence asymmetry, and perceived difference of dependence. This empirical study of 300 mobile phone supplier–retailer dyads in China reveals that the three aspects of interdependence affect interfirm trust in different ways. Channel members’ perceived receipt of partners’ supporting behavior mediates the relationships. Mutual dependence and perceived difference of dependence enhances perceived support and trust, while dependence asymmetry exerts a negative effect on perceived support and trust.

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Acknowledgement

The authors gratefully acknowledge Grants from project 71502113, 71872116, & 71672164 supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China.

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Appendix: Constructs and Measurements

Appendix: Constructs and Measurements

Retailer side
Dependence on Supplier (adapted from Palmatier et al. 2007) (Cronbach’s α = .80)
 1. This supplier’s product lines are essential to round out our product offering
If for some reason, our relationship with this supplier ended, …
 1. We would suffer a significant loss of income despite our best efforts to replace the lost income
 2. Such a loss would negatively affect our human resource management
 3. The loss would seriously damage our reputation in this area
Perceived Supplier’s Dependence (adapted from Palmatier et al. 2007) (Cronbach’s α = .82)
If for some reason, our relationship with this supplier ended …
 1. Such a loss would seriously hurt the sales of this supplier in this area
 2. This supplier could easily compensate for it by appointing another agent in this area. (R)
 3. This supplier would suffer a significant loss of marketing channel network and promotion support
 4. Such a loss would negatively affect the service this supplier’s customers have come to expect in this area
Perceived support (adapted from Kumar et al. 1995) (Cronbach’s α = .74)
 1. Though circumstances change, we believe that the supplier will be ready and willing to offer us assistance and support
 2. When making important decisions, the supplier is concerned about our welfare
 3. When we share our problems with the supplier, we know that they will respond with understanding
 4. In the future we can count on the supplier to consider how its decisions and actions will affect us
 5. When it comes to things which are important to us, we can depend on the supplier’s support
Trust (Crosby et al. 1990) (Cronbach’s α = .75)
 1. This supplier is a company that stands by its word
 2. I can rely on this supplier to keep the promises they make to me
 3. This supplier is sincere in its dealings with me
Firm size
 How many people are employed in your company? ______
Length of cooperation
 How many years has your company been purchasing products from this supplier? ______
Supplier side
Dependence on Retailer (adapted from Palmatier et al. 2007) (Cronbach’s α = .79)
If for some reason, we ended our relationship with this retailer, …
 1. Such a loss would seriously hurt our sales in this area
 2. We could easily compensate for it by appointing another agent in this area. (R)
 3. We would suffer a significant loss of financial support
 4. Such a loss would negatively affect the service our customers have come to expect in this area
Perceived Retailer’s Dependence (adapted from Palmatier et al. 2007) (Cronbach’s α = .81)
 1. We are key supplier of this retailer
If for some reason, we ended our relationship with this retailer, …
 2. This retailer would suffer a significant loss of income
 3. Such a loss would negatively affect our human resource management
 4. Such a loss would significantly damage this retailer’s reputation in this area

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Jia, F., Yang, Z. Perceptual difference of dependence and trust in marketing channel: reconsideration of dependence measurement. Asian Bus Manage 20, 78–104 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41291-019-00077-z

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Keywords

  • Mutual dependence
  • Dependence asymmetry
  • Perceptual accuracy
  • Interfirm trust
  • Dependence measurement
  • Perceptual difference of dependence