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Power Struggle in the Food Chain? Lessons from Empirical Studies on Power Influences in Chains and Marketing Channels


  • Belaya, Vera
  • Hanf, Jon Henrich


Power plays a key role in any chain relationship. In the past large manufacturers such as Unilever and Nestle were the most dominant players in the chain. However, as a result of consolidation among retailers, power has shifted towards retailers. Nowadays such retailers as Wal-Mart, Carrefour, and Tesco are seen as powerful gatekeepers controlling the access to the end consumer. Moreover, branded manufacturers and large multinational retailers become increasingly dependent on fewer and larger suppliers who can deliver high quality products at competitive prices. Since many decades there is discussion going on about the role of power in chains and marketing channels. In order to understand how power and its interactions with other constructs in the chain can be used beneficially for management of the whole chain, it is of great importance to investigate the influences and effects of power. Some of the phenomena which are said to be influenced by power include performance, satisfaction, commitment, relationship quality, conflict, compliance, problem solving, chain integration and collaboration. In this context, the aim of our work is to analyze and systemize existing empirical studies, which measure the influences of power on other phenomena, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of existing conceptualizations of power, in order to add clarity to the existing turmoil in the literature and contribute to the understanding of the role of power in chains and marketing channels for managerial purposes.

Suggested Citation

  • Belaya, Vera & Hanf, Jon Henrich, 2009. "Power Struggle in the Food Chain? Lessons from Empirical Studies on Power Influences in Chains and Marketing Channels," 113th Seminar, September 3-6, 2009, Chania, Crete, Greece 57981, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa113:57981

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