This paper focuses on the move from buyer dominance toward interdependence between buyers and suppliers in a distribution channel. The paper introduces a case study collected through in-depth interviews and participative observations. It examines the relationships between a timber supplier and its customers in the builders' merchants sector. We stress the relevance of considering actions intended to change the power balance, rather than focusing only on trust. The power balance in a dyadic relationship is dynamic, and power positions need to be constantly re-evaluated. An important power resource is information asymmetry, manifested in the supplier's information about: products, regional and local demand, and the usage of the products. For practitioners, we highlight the possibility of exerting a non-coercive power resource, such as information asymmetry, in order to increase the relative power. Furthermore, being open about the power position between a buyer and a seller can foster a more efficient collaboration.
- distribution channels
- information asymmetry
- power regimes
- resource dependence
- supplier-retailer relationships