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Power and Distribution Network Structure in the People's Republic of China - The Case of an Inland City in Transition

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Title: Power and Distribution Network Structure in the People's Republic of China - The Case of an Inland City in Transition
Author: Polsa, Pia
Contributor: Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Department of Marketing and Corporate Geography, Marketing
Thesis level: Doctoral thesis
Belongs to series: Economics and Society - 106
ISBN: 951-555-727-5
Abstract: The aim of the current study is to examine the influence of the channel external environment on power, and the effect of power on the distribution network structure within the People’s Republic of China.

Throughout the study a dual research process was applied. The theory was constructed by elaborating the main theoretical premises of the study, the channel power theories, the political economy framework and the distribution network structure, but these marketing channel concepts were expanded with other perspectives from other disciplines. The main method applied was a survey conducted among 164 Chinese retailers, complemented by interviews, photographs, observations and census data from the field. This multi-method approach enabled not only to validate and triangulate the quantitative results, but to uncover serendipitous findings as well.

The theoretical contribution of the current study to the theory of marketing channels power is the different view it takes on power. First, earlier power studies have taken the producer perspective, whereas the current study also includes a distributor perspective to the discussion. Second, many power studies have dealt with strongly dependent relationships, whereas the current study examines loosely dependent relationships. Power is dependent on unequal distribution of resources rather than based on high dependency. The benefit of this view is in realising that power resources and power strategies are separate concepts. The empirical material of the current study confirmed that at least some resources were significantly related to power strategies. The study showed that the dimension resources composed of technology, know-how and knowledge, managerial freedom and reputation was significantly related to non-coercive power. Third, the notion of different outcomes of power is a contribution of this study to the channels power theory even though not confirmed by the empirical results. Fourth, it was proposed that channel external environment other than the resources would also contribute to the channel power. These propositions were partially supported thus providing only partial contribution to the channel power theory. Finally, power was equally distributed among the different types of actors.

The findings from the qualitative data suggest that different types of retailers can be classified according to the meaning the actors put into their business. Some are more business oriented, for others retailing is the only way to earn a living. The findings also suggest that in some actors both retailing and wholesaling functions emerge, and this has implications for the marketing channels structure.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10227/80
URN:ISBN:951-555-727-5
Date: 2002-06-19
Copyright information: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.
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