The paper "Marketing Channel Systems" is an outstanding example of a marketing assignment. Coercion is one of the bases or sources of power that depends on threat or fear. Coercive power stems from the ability of A to exert influence on B or make them do what they would otherwise not have done or effect changes in behaviour depending on the application or the threat of application of some sort of physical sanction or punishment (Gaski 1984, Coughlan 2006). Therefore, the influence exerted by A over B is primarily out of the fear of the consequences of punishment or sanctions such as infliction of pain, restriction of movement which frustrates B’ s ambitions or control through force of basic needs.
Coercion may refer to an organization or an individual’ s ability or potential to use leverage to issue threats against another organization or individual. Therefore, coercive power interferes with the affected party’ s autonomy or willingness to act voluntarily. For example, a long-standing client of a firm may coerce the salesperson to offer them a discount by threatening that should they not conform, they would take their business elsewhere.
In this case, the threat to take business elsewhere gives the client power over the salesperson. Some of the other instruments of coercion used in marketing to effect behaviour change include reducing margins, blocking access to certain markets, slowing down shipments or the threat to withdraw rewards (Coughlan 2006). However, coercion can also be considered as simply a negative reward. Reward power rests on conformity or altering behaviour motivated by the belief of some benefits expected from another party. The reward is usually a benefit or returns promised and/or given conditionally on altering behaviour.
The reward is usually based on passing some criteria, such as a producer offering a product or service that meets the needs of the end-user and at a price that the end-user is willing to pay for it, offering favourable terms of trade, backing the product or service with minimally acceptable producer reputation and ensuring reliable and timely delivery (Coughlan 2006). Therefore, reward power is positive in nature, prompting alteration of behaviour in anticipation of benefits. On the other hand, coercive power prompts alteration of behaviour based on a fear of punishment or a threat in the form of withdrawal of rewards which is essentially the direct opposite of benefits- negative reward.
The motivation for reward power is positive, offering the channel member incentives for meeting certain criteria. However, coercive power operates on disincentives by threatening punishment, sanctions or the withdrawal of rewards for not meeting demanded criteria (Gaski 1984). The coercive measures described, such as blocking access to certain markets or slowing down shipments, are essentially negative rewards promised in the event that a member of a marketing channel does not meet certain criteria or fails to alter their behaviour with respect to the “ coercing” agent.
Threats are also potent in marketing channels since they have the potential to raise conflict due to negative reactions (Coughlan 2006).
Coughlan, A.T 2006, Marketing Channels, Sydney: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Gaski, J.F 1984, ‘The Theory of Power and Conflict in Channels of Distribution’, Journal of Marketing Vol. 48, No. 3, pp. 9-29.
Keillor B.D 2007, Marketing in the 21st Century: Interactive and multi-channel marketing, Volume 2, New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Rosenbloom, B 2011, Marketing Channels, New York: Cengage Learning.