On the basis of the discussion in the previous article Marketing Channel Conflicts, it can be easily understood that conflict is an inherent behavioral dimension in the marketing channel and various levels of conflicts may have both negative and positive effect on channel efficiency or possible no effect.
A marketing channel conflict could affect the channel efficiency positively in the sense that when the members involved in the conflicts realize and identify the possible reasons for conflict and work towards removing these areas of disagreement. The conflicts might actually become functional. The need is therefore to sit back and understand the cause of conflict and to devise ways to overcome by working out a better solution.
A central task in channel management is to seek ways to manage conflicts. In other words ways must be found to keep conflict from becoming dysfunctional and to harness the energy in conflict situation to provide innovative resolution. If conflict with in marketing channel is to be managed it will eventually be necessary for the members involved to groups with the underlying causes of conflictive issues that arise among them. The specific strategies employed will depend upon not only on the cause of conflict but also on the weight of power of the channel member seeks to manage the conflict. Therefore, the effective use of power only required in specific roles within the channel, it is also essential in dealing with conflict that inevitably arise among the channel members.
Several strategies used in managing channel conflicts are mentioned briefly below, each of which can be modified depends upon the situational variable present and the structural dimensions of specific channel.
- Diplomacy: Channel diplomacy is the method by which inter-organizational relations are conducted, adjusted and managed by persons operating at the boundaries of the member organization. The function of a channel diplomat should be to conduct negotiations with channel member, to whom he is assigned, to observe and report everything that may be of interest to the firm employing him. The next role if to provide information concerning hid firm to the operatives in counterpart channel organization.
- Joint membership in trade association: Membership in the association of channel counterpart can prove to be extremely beneficial in managing channel conflict situation. In this way both members have a common interest to achieve the goal and some of the conflicts are ignored by the channel members.
- Exchange of persons: This conflict management strategy involves a bilateral trade of personal for specific time period. The techniques involved in such programmes is essentially the same as role reversal. A procedure where one or both of the participant in a discussion present the view point of the other. Conflict theorist have suggested that role reversal would create greater understanding of the others party positions than merely presenting our’s side of issue.
- Co-optation: Co-optation is the process of absorbing new element into leadership or policy determining structure of the organization as a mean of averting threat to its stability or existence. Co-optation may permit the ready accessibility among channel members in that. It requires the establishment of routine and reliable channel through which information, aid and request may be brought. Co-optation also permit the sharing of responsibility so that variety of channel members may become identified and committed to the programme developed for a particular product or service.
- Mediation: Mediation is a process by which a third party attempts to secure settlement of dispute by persuading the parties to either continue their negotiations or to consider procedure or substantive recommendations that the mediator may make. Mediation essentially involves operating in the field of conflicting parties in such a way that both parties perceived to be the moves which otherwise have not brought in between. Solutions might be given and acceptability by being suggested by the mediation and hence acquire a degree of saliency that is important in making them mutually acceptable.
- Arbitration: Arbitration can be compulsory or voluntary. Compulsory arbitration is a process wherein the parties are required by law to submit their dispute to a third party whose decision is final and binding to both parties. Voluntary arbitration is a process wherein parties voluntarily submit their disputes to a third party whose decision is considered to be final and binding.
- Adopting super ordinate goal: Super ordinate goals are those ends, which can not be attained by resources and energies of each of the parties separately, but which requires the concentrated effort of all the parties involved. Conflict resolution of a relatively permanent nature requires an integration of need of both sides to the dispute so that they find a common goal without sacrificing their basic economic and ethical principals. The most critical factor of resolving the conflict by this method is that the super ordinate goal should be greatly desired by all those, caught in dispute or conflict.