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  • 1.
    Jensen, Leif-Magnus
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Marketing and Logistics. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Centre of Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
    Opportunities and constraints for intermediaries in distribution: The challenge of variety2010In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 4, no 3, p. 194-219Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The variety in contemporary distribution systems is large and reflects complex customer demands and new technological and organizational possibilities. Changes in the distribution system lead to new challenges and constraints for intermediaries trying to establish consistent roles for themselves. The challenge for theory is how to describe these changed and complex roles.

    This article is based on a case study of one intermediary (a third-party logistics provider) in the car distribution industry. The article presents a framework of six roles, four of which find parallels in functionalist discussions of roles, and two of which appear more closely tied to new developments in distribution. These are specifically tied to the way intermediaries have increased opportunities to act as resource providers and organizers in contemporary distribution.

    The opportunities and constraints for intermediaries in the type of distribution context studied are analyzed using the IMP literature. This proves fruitful in particular through discussing the impact of actor bonds and resource ties. The resources the intermediary controls may be less important in defining its role than the fit with resources possessed by others and the resulting opportunities.

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