Previous conceptualizations of attitudinal commitment are extended by considering two very different components of a manufacturer’s attachment to an independent channel intermediary. Relying on commitment theory, a model is developed that describes how attitudinal commitment may reside in either the instrumental or the social strain of a manufacturer’s relationship with its distributor. For each strain, the developmental role played by key facets of the channel setting—relative dependence, pledges, and trust—are shown. Furthermore, the nature of the attachment bond is posited to motivate very different governance mechanisms as the distribution agreement is enforced by either social or contractual means. Empirical support for the model demonstrates that an expanded view of attitudinal commitment is important in understanding the complex nature of attachment in channel relationships.
- attitudinal commitment
- independent channel intermediary
- developmental role