Franchising in the business format sector accounted for approximately 35 percent of retail sales in the U.S. in 1991. Consequently, the franchising industry has a clear ethical responsibility to the public. At the same time, there exists an ethical obligation of the two major factors in the industry - the franchisor and the franchise - toward each other. Because the franchise agreement, which is the basis of the relationship, is originated by the franchisor, an asymmetrical distribution of power often exists, resulting in opportunistic behavior by the franchisor. In other cases, questionable or unethical practices by franchisees likewise result in conflict. This paper examines some of the basic areas of the franchise relationship which result in conflict, and discusses the situation analysis in business format franchising, which shows promise for reduction of conflict and unethical behavior for the future. © 1994 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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