Relational norms and collaborative activities: Roles in reducing opportunism in marketing channels

Yin Zhou, Xubing Zhang, Guijun Zhuang, Nan Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Reducing opportunism is a critical task to support channel performance and channel member satisfaction. Recent research into marketing channels focuses on the role of relational governance in curbing opportunism; this study advances this thesis by positing that relational governance encompasses both relational norms and collaborative activities (i.e., joint planning and joint problem solving). In turn, the current research investigates how these two aspects of relational governance independently and jointly check opportunism in marketing channels. The tests of the hypotheses involve 149 Chinese manufacturer-distributor relationships. The results show that relational norms have a negative effect on opportunism, but the effect of collaborative activities is contingent on the level of consistency between the relational norms and collaborative activities that mark the relationship. A low level of relational norms prompts joint planning to inhibit opportunism and joint problem solving to exacerbate it. However, a high level of relational norms reverses these effects: Joint planning fosters opportunism, and joint problem solving curbs it. Thus collaborative activities have different properties that need to be devised in accordance with relational norms if the goal is to reduce opportunism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages13
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Collaborative activities
  • Opportunism
  • Relational governance
  • Relational norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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