Alienation in channel marketing relationships

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Alienation is a well established concept in sociology and social psychology. It has been applied to explain the manifest conflicts an individual experiences in relation to his or her social structures (Heinz 1991). Often it is associated with a disconnection or separation (Erikson 1986) from a social entity. Little attention has been given to the application of alienation in marketing systems, such as distribution channels. When the concept of alienation is applied to distribution channels, we find a close connection with the many popular channel constructs such as opportunism, trust, commitment, conflict and power; but there remains little recognition of the broader implications of alienation upon the channel. The objective of this thesis is to examine alienation and its multi-dimensional nature in an internal and external channel network environment. The theories and research of Seeman (1959, 1975, 1989) and Ray (1985) have been extended by considering forms of alienation and how they interact to create a sense of real or imaginary separation in channel marketing relationships. The context in which emergence and consequences of alienation were considered was via the impact of the environment and its structural conditions on the channel participants individually and within their networks. The process by which this environment worked to create alienation in channel marketing relationships is at the centre of this analysis. A conceptual model (see Figure 3.2) was developed that depicted alienation as emerging from challenging structural conditions in the industry, and a relationship environment which caused changes to the channel participants’ environment, and how these changes were subjectively interpreted by channel partners in particular ways. This is a feedback model because it recognises past alienating or de-alienating outcomes contributing to the present process of alienation creation. The model positions alienation as a bridging concept between influence conditions, behavioural responses and individual psychological responses to those behaviours - interpreted within a channel relationship.
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