Abstract: A recent commentary by Blois and Hopkinson in this journal provides a thoughtful critique of the use of French and Raven’s (1959) bases of power approach in channels of distribution research. Their commentary claims that power-base studies (1) suffer from ‘weak results’ and lack ‘psychometrically sound’ measures, (2) provide an inadequate ‘categorising [of] power sources’, (3) suffer from a ‘questionable’ use of an interpersonal theory of power in ‘inter-organisational or B2B situations’, (4) suffer from a ‘misreporting’ of the original French and Raven article and (5) are deficient because they ground channels research on a 1959 theory article that was, itself, ‘much less rigorous in its arguments than would be expected’, with ‘uneven support’ from the article’s citations. The five criticisms of the power-base approach seem to imply that, throughout the four-plus decades of power-base research, marketing’s scholarship has been misguided. This reply argues that the five criticisms are suspect and the power-base approach to understanding channels of distribution has provided an informative theoretical foundation for guiding research.
- bases of power
- channels of distribution