Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine how pre-entry franchising information (i.e. franchisor-provided) influences the confirmation (or not) of franchisees' pre-entry expectations and their subsequent assessment of trust in their franchisor. Relationships with outcome variables, such as perceived conflict and relational satisfaction, are also examined. Finally, the authors compare their hypothesised model across male and female franchisees and different patterns of relationships result. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected via a mail survey administered to a sample of 3,000 franchisees in Australia, which resulted in the collection of 339 useable responses (11 per cent response rate). The conceptual model was tested via structural equation modelling using AMOS 17.0 and all paths were significant, as hypothesised. However, when the sample was split across gender, some clear differences emerged. Findings: The findings reveal that male and female franchisees use pre-entry informational sources in different ways in formulating their expectations and trust in their franchisors. Furthermore, in terms of relational outcomes, perceived conflict plays a very different role in regard to overall relational satisfaction when examined across gender. Originality/value: This paper addresses a significant gap in the literature by examining the dynamics of information dissemination in influencing franchisees' pre-entry expectations of, and trust in, their franchisors. In addition, gender differences in pre-entry information dissemination, expectations (dis)confirmation and relational outcomes, not yet explored, are also reported. The results prompt significant implications and suggestions for future research in this under-researched area of franchising inquiry.
- Information Processing