Vol. 44, No. 4
Structural Embeddedness and Supplier Management: A Network Perspective (invited article)
The concept of structural embeddedness refers to the importance of framing suppliers as being embedded in larger supply networks rather than in isolation. Such framing helps buying companies create more realistic policies and strategies when managing their suppliers. Simply put, the performance of a supplier is dependent on its own supply networks. By adopting the concept of structural embeddedness, we learn that a buying company needs to look at a supplier's extended supply network to arrive at a more complete evaluation of that supplier's performance. By doing so, a buying company may do a better job of selecting suppliers for long-term relationships and may also find value in maintaining relationships with poorly performing suppliers who may potentially act as a conduit to other companies with technological and innovative resources.
Thomas Y. Choi, Ph.D., is the John G. Bebbling Professor in Business at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona and
Yusoon Kim is a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
Supplier Innovativeness and the Role of Interorganizational Learning in Enhancing Manufacturer Capabilities
Manufacturers increasingly rely on innovation from their suppliers to improve the cost, quality, and timeliness of their products. Manufacturing capabilities are enhanced by supplier innovativeness directly, because of the embedded nature of the supplied component, and indirectly, as the manufacturer learns from its suppliers. We use organizational learning theory to develop a conceptual model of learning factors that act as contingencies and magnify the effect of supplier innovativeness. First, we argue that a manufacturer's absorptive capacity, its ability to learn and use external knowledge, positively moderates the impact of supplier innovativeness on the manufacturer's performance. Second, we examine how different combinations of manufacturer-supplier learning styles lead to relatively more or less inter-organizational learning, contingent upon whether the outsourcing is design versus manufacturing oriented. Our model can help managers consider knowledge transfer as part of their supplier selection criteria.
Arash Azadegan, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the College of Business at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico,
Kevin Dooley, Ph.D., is Professor of Supply Chain Management at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona,
Phillip L. Carter, D.B.A., is the Harold E. Fearon Chair of Purchasing and Professor of Supply Chain Management at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona and
Joseph R. Carter, D.B.A., is Avnet Professor of Supply Chain Management at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
Strategic Alignment and Purchasing Efficacy: An Exploratory Analysis of their Impact on Financial Performance
Purchasing and supply management (PSM) has become a discipline of major strategic importance for effectively competing in today's global marketplace. Literature recognizes that the full value-creation potential of the purchasing function can only be realized if its decisions and activities are aligned with the organization's overall strategic orientation. Despite general agreement on this matter, research and practice lacks knowledge on how exactly such an alignment can be achieved and what performance implications it has. Therefore, this paper empirically investigates the alignment-performance link in PSM in a comprehensive manner. Drawing on the theory of production competence, we suggest that the relative fit between business strategy and purchasing strategy, labeled as strategic alignment, and between purchasing strategy and purchasing practices, referred to as purchasing efficacy, is key to achieving superior financial performance. Results from profile deviation analysis on data collected globally from 141 strategic business units (SBUs) with revenues greater than USD 3 billion support our hypotheses. Findings provide clear guidance to managers on how to design their purchasing strategies and practices to achieve maximum alignment and thus to effectively contribute to the SBU's financial success.
Christian Baier, Dr. rer. pol., is a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in Berlin (Germany),
Evi Hartmann, Dr. Ing., is Assistant Professor for Purchasing and Supply Management at the European Business School in Wiesbaden (Germany) and
Roger Moser, Dr. rer. pol., is Assistant Professor for Global Supply Networks at the European Business School in Wiesbaden (Germany).
Buyer Dependency and Relational Capital Formation: The Mediating Effects of Socialization Processes and Supplier Integration
Effective supply chain configurations are increasingly cited as a key driver of value creation. However, many supplier relationships are characterized by differing levels of dependence between the parties, which has the potential to influence the outcomes achieved. We build and test an empirical model to examine how buyer firms respond to dependency on a supplier by undertaking either socialization processes or closer integration in order to achieve relational capital. Using empirical data collected from 111 United Kingdom purchasing executives, a structural equation model is used to test the theoretical framework. The results provide support for four of the five hypotheses developed. Buyer firms facing high supplier dependency are found to undertake socialization processes to mitigate the dependency and generate relational capital. However, buyer dependency did not, in isolation, lead to increased levels of supplier integration. The study extends our understanding of how firms deal with asymmetric power within their supplier relationships and suggests important implications for both research and practice.
Kenneth J. Petersen, Ph.D., is Associate Professor/First Community Bank Faculty Fellow at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado,
Robert B. Handfield, Ph.D., is the Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina,
Benn Lawson, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer in Operations Management in the School of Management at Queen's University, Belfast (Northern Ireland) and
Paul D. Cousins, Ph.D., is Professor of Management and the CIPS Professor of Supply Chain Management in the Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester, Manchester (United Kingdom).
A Decade of SCM Literature: Past, Present and Future Implications
This study covers a decade of academic research in the Supply Chain Management (SCM) field, offering an in-depth analytical review focused on the existing trends and gaps in the supply chain literature. Nine academic journals were investigated and a subject categorization is developed for SCM research. A content analysis was then conducted on 405 articles, focusing on the categories covered within the SCM literature, various levels of the chain examined, and sample populations and industries studied, as well as the research methods employed. Finally, a conceptual framework of the most highly researched categories in SCM indicates that there is a need for more research which seeks to understand the nature of multiple links in SCM chains and networks, as opposed to focusing on dyadic and inter-firm relationships.
Larry C. Giunipero, Ph.D., is Professor of Supply Chain Management at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida,
Robert E. Hooker is a Ph.D. candidate in Management Information Systems at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida,
Sacha Joseph-Matthews, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California,
Tom E. Yoon is a Ph.D. candidate at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida and
Susan K. Brudvig, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Marketing at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.