Protecting relational assets: A pre and post field study of a horizontal business combination

Robert F. Lusch, James R. Brown, Matthew O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


A variety of theoretical frameworks including social exchange theory, relational exchange theory, and contracting theory are used to investigate how to protect relational assets in a marketing channel when an upstream horizontal business combination between key suppliers arises. In this study, we ascertain downstream channel members' perceptions of a supplier's horizontal business combination both prior to and after such a combination. Our findings indicate that a normative contract breach resulting from a horizontal business combination influences downstream channel members by reducing their performance, decreasing their satisfaction, and increasing their likelihood of exiting the channel. Consequently, both the relational assets of the upstream supplier and their downstream customers are harmed. Importantly, these influences can be partially offset through the moderating effect of channel identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-197
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Business combination
  • Business-to-business
  • Contract breach
  • Marketing channels
  • Normative contracts
  • Satisfaction
  • Social exchange theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Protecting relational assets: A pre and post field study of a horizontal business combination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this