Anytime individuals or organizations must work together and rely on each other for personal success, conflict is inevitable. Conflict, unlike friendly competition, is personal and direct and often suggests a confrontation. Because it is so pervasive in distribution, a great deal of research has been conducted in attempts to identify its causes, outcomes, and solutions.
There is also a need to manage conflict in the channel. This consists of (a) establishing a mechanism for detecting conflict, (b) appraising the effects of the conflict, and (c) resolving the conflict. This last consideration is most difficult to implement. Techniques such as a channel committee, jomt goal setting, and bringing in an arbitrator have all been used. There are even cases when conflict is necessary. Such is the case in the e-marketplace. For example, Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google Inc., notes: “From my experience the most successful companies are the ones where there is enormous conflict. Conflict does not mean killing one another, but instead means there is a process by which there is a disagreement. It is okay to have different points of view and disagree, because tolerance of multiple opinions and people often leads to the right decision through some kind of process.”