According to research conducted by Griffith University in 2014, fostering gratitude in the franchise relationship can lead to greater satisfaction rates among franchisees.

Professor Scott Weaven, co-authored the report with Research Professor, the late Rajiv Dant – in partnership with Brent Baker of the University of North Dakota.

These findings are still illuminating, particularly considering the current negative sentiment around franchising.

The research revealed franchisees rate gratitude up there with trust and commitment as being important factors in franchising relationships.

Franchisees become grateful for behaviours they believe to be motivated by the franchisor’s desire to promote franchise system success, regardless of whether these behaviours are contractually mandated.

Elements of the franchise relationship, such as paying royalties or local area marketing spend, works against gratitude and may produce feelings of obligation rather than gratitude.

So, what is the key?

According to the research, the key to gratitude is the effort must not be perceived as the result of a role-based relationship or contract, which exists in franchising.  There is a difference between gratitude and a feeling of indebtedness, so if franchisors do their best to foster gratitude in franchisees it will produce more satisfied franchisees.

And when do franchisees feel grateful?

  • They work well with their franchisor and the relationship is fair and respectful.
  • They are working with their franchisor rather than working for them.
  • Flexibility in the franchise relationship / franchisee’s belief in a flexible franchise relationship.
  • Their franchisor is willing to set aside contractual terms in an effort to adapt within dynamic business environments, where appropriate.
  • Their franchisor is not taking advantage of their power at the franchisee’s expense.
  • Their franchisor promotes equity and fairness in the franchising relationship, despite having the ability to take advantage of their less powerful franchisees.

The research was based on an online survey of 440 Australian franchisees from 28 franchisors.