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Paper info: Mediated category management: understanding how third parties enable value creation by fostering integration between sellers and buyers

Title


Mediated category management: understanding how third parties enable value creation by fostering integration between sellers and buyers

Authors


Fabrizio Zerbini
ESCP Europe
France
Fabrizio Zerbini , Monica Grosso and Sandro Castaldo

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.

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Abstract


In the past, scholars convincingly argued that integrating manufacturers and distributors facilitates value creation. Various techniques have been proved to suit this integration purpose. Among them, Category management (CM) has raised growing interest in scholarly research as well as practice, becoming one of the most diffused and controversial.In this paper, we tackle the issue of the integration of manufacturers' and distributors' CM activities by pointing out the conditions that facilitate CM implementation. In doing so, we focus on the intervention of third parties - which we label CM mediators - that facilitate the integration process and allow the coordination of CM strategies. We present an in-depth case analysis of an under-performing dyad in which, despite the existence prior relationships between the manufacturer and the distributor, CM was only realized through the intervention of a third party. The integration of CM is analyzed in respect of its key mechanisms and process phases. Crucial steps are indicated in which the intervening CM mediator identified failure in value exploitation, brought together the exchanging organizations, geared the knowledge sharing processes, moderated relational conflicts, and allowed the parties' strategies to be coordinated in the marketplace. A framework for CM-mediated integration is developed from the case analysis, and discussed in the light of current theory and practice. The emerging framework is presented with regard to two main dimensions of integration in CM: the mediated CM architecture and the mediated CM process.