What to expect after the honeymoon: testing a life cycle theory of franchise relationships

Markus Blut, Christof Backhaus, Tobias Heussler, David M. Woisetschläger, Heiner Evanschitzky, Dieter Ahlert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examines the evolution of interorganizational relationships in a franchising context. Using U-curve theory, we develop three hypotheses and contrast them with traditional lifecycle theory. Three groups of constructs are affected by lifecycle: cooperation variables, dependence variables, and relationship variables. Four distinct stages emerge, with highest levels of variables in the honeymoon stage, lower levels in routine and crossroad stages, and increasing levels in the stabilization stage. Franchisors should strive for “stability on high levels” before operational realities influence the franchisees. Franchisees’ intermediate lifecycle phases are most critical for the system, since opportunistic behavior and switching are most likely.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-319
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Retailing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • franchising
  • U-curve theory
  • lifecycle theory
  • interorganizational relationships
  • multivariate analysis of variance


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