Winning Strategies for the 21st Century
Edited by Saïd Yami, Sandro Castaldo and Giovanni Battista Dagnino
Chapter 7: Exploring How Third-Party Organizations Facilitate Coopetition Management in Buyer–Seller Relationships
Sandro Castaldo, Guido Möllering, Monica Grosso and Fabrizio Zerbini INTRODUCTION: COOPETITION IN STRATEGIC MARKETING RELATIONSHIPS Conceptually as well as practically, coopetition requires the management of the tensions, if not dilemmas, resulting from the simultaneous presence of conflicting and converging goals between two parties (Brandenburger and Nalebuff, 1996). In this chapter, we look beyond the coopetitive dyad and explore the managerial option of involving a third party to deal with the challenge of developing a dyadic relationship that is both cooperative and competitive. Drawing on evidence from three successful category management projects, we are not only able to show the general plausibility of using third-party mediation for coopetition management, but we also shed some light on the conditions for successful mediation and the mechanisms that mediators use to promote cooperation within distribution channel relationships that are also competitive. Our chapter addresses a strategic management issue but, given the empirical cases we study, we also build specifically on an extensive literature on marketing channels, which has emphasized the importance of managing relationships between sellers and buyers for over fifty years (Zerbini and Castaldo, 2007). This literature has evolved with different perspectives and interests over time, but the main themes remain the interplay of the economic and social dimensions of channel relationships and the tension between the partners’ common and competing interests. The intrinsic duality of competitive and cooperative motives in distribution channels suggests that the concept of coopetition, and the managerial issues it implies, can be applied fruitfully to vertical relationships,...
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