ABSTRACT

Purpose – The cosmetics industry is a traditional high value- added industry in terms of the domestic demand, small batch production systems, exclusive competition, and raw materials highly dependent on overseas countries as well as an oligopolistic market structure. However, new foreign brands and growing consumer awareness of inexpensive products, has triggered a shift. In line with changing lifestyles and the polarization of consumption, the industry faces a new market structure. Among its key characteristics is the cosmetics industry’s numerous distribution channels (i.e., department stores, door-to-door sales, online shopping malls, brand shops, and discount stores). Therefore, the study of its distribution channels is essential. Research design, data, and methodology – The study analyzed channel distribution power divided into coercive and non-coercive power. The factors of coercive power included: unilateral request of an increase in commissions, interference in sales by taking advantage of a superior status, unilateral buck-passing at the time of a problem, unilateral request to stop sales activities, and a unilateral business contract; the factors of non-coercive power included favorable payment conditions, offers of various kinds of information, policy on commission reduction, pride in market entrance, and promotion support. In addition, the mediating variable “interdependence” was applied to the execution of department store (or mart) power and their shop conflicts and satisfaction to examine direct and indirect influential power. The methodology was a survey of managers of cosmetics shops in department stores (or marts). The questionnaire, based on a five-point Likert scale, included questions about basic personal information, execution of power, interdependence, conflict, and satisfaction. The study distributed 198 questionnaires and collected 131. Ten questionnaires with missing or hard to analyze data were excluded. Thus, 121 copies were analyzed. Results – According to the analysis, the execution of coercive power by department stores (or marts) did not affect interdependence, but the execution of non-coercive power did. Interdependence did not influence conflict, but did affect satisfaction. Additionally, the analysis revealed direct influential power: the execution of coercive power positively affected conflict and negatively influenced satisfaction; the execution of non-coercive power positively affected satisfaction. Conclusions – To offer suggestions for distribution business relations in the cosmetics industry, this study investigated how the execution of power by department stores (or marts) affected their shops. More specifically, it examined how much the execution of both coercive power and non-coercive power influenced conflict and satisfaction, and analyzed the mediating role of interdependence. In line with previous study results in various areas, coercive power was shown to be the source of conflict, leading to a decrease in satisfaction, whereas non-coercive power significantly positively influenced satisfaction. Moreover, non-coercive power increased interdependence, which led to greater satisfaction. As a result, interdependence had a mediating effect on non-coercive power and satisfaction. Based on the results, department stores (or marts) should look for improvements plans that increase interdependence. Such plans could alleviate conflict with the shops, increasing their satisfaction.

KEYWORD

Cosmetics Industry, Distribution Channel, Coercive power, Conflict, Satisfaction

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