تاثیر فردگرایی بر رابطه هنجارها و اعتماد خریدار و فروشنده و عملکرد بازار: تجزیه و تحلیل داده های برزیل و ایالات متحده آمریکا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|15364||2012||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9500 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Business Review, Volume 21, Issue 5, October 2012, Pages 782–793
This study focuses on the impact of the cultural dimension of individualism, face-to-face communication and the effect of relational norms such as supplier involvement and trust on the market performance of buyer firms. We use the culture literature and social exchange theory to test hypotheses using a sample of Brazilian and US manufacturing firms. The data were analyzed using variance-based structural equation modeling, employing nonlinear partial least squares regression. Our findings indicate that individualism is negatively related to the involvement of suppliers in the production process but is not associated with trust in suppliers. In addition face-to-face communication seems to have a positive effect on supplier involvement and trust.
Many global manufacturing firms form contractual or equity relationships with suppliers who might be geographically and culturally distant. Cultural issues thus predominate in all aspects of cross-cultural management including buyer–supplier relationships. However, cultural comparisons have not been sufficiently dealt with by past studies in the international business literature in the context of such global, dyadic interactions (Cannon, Doney, Mullen, & Petersen, 2010). What has been even less observed in this research stream is the role of communication, mainly face-to-face communication in strengthening the nature of such exchanges with performance being the eventual goal. In our comparative analytical model in this study, we include the cultural dimension of individualism, face-to-face communication, supplier involvement and trust and examine their influence on a buyer firm's performance. The investigation is viewed from a buyer firm's perspective in that we analyze whether individualistic buyers and those that engage in a higher degree of face-to-face communication are able to involve suppliers, develop trust in them, and how this integration of suppliers in the production process might affect the market performance of the buyer firm. Since the relational norms of involvement and trust are determined endogenously, we include all our variables in a single structural equation model and compare the cultural orientations of buyer firms from Brazil and the United States. Our study makes the following contribution. First, we add to the body of literature by linking these social constructs to economic incidents (Luo, 2007 and Uzzi, 1997). The novelty of our paper however lies in its focus on face-to-face communication which has been incorporated into our theoretical model. This variable has been largely ignored as an enhancer of relationships. Face to face communication might add somewhat to the firm's financial expenses but might reduce the costs of knowledge or resource transfer or trust building or eliciting contribution from suppliers that ultimately positively settles on the bottom line. Neither has this construct of communication been adequately examined in this buyer–supplier context nor has its contribution to the trust-building process been verified (Dyer & Chu, 2000). Our goal is also to note this role in dyadic associations. Third, there are several studies cited at various junctures in this paper that focus on the antecedents of trust and its effect on performance. However, few studies which included international dyadic relationships did not explicitly explore how cultural elements might play a role in trust (Dyer and Chu, 2000 and Luo et al., 2009). For example, although Krishnan, Martin, and Noorderhaven (2006) examined the trust-performance relationship in international alliances, they included cultural distance only as a control variable in their model but did not investigate how the cultural orientation of the partners would influence trust or performance. We fill this gap through a cross-culture comparison of buyer firms from Brazil and the United States. Fourth, we weigh in on relative market performance as the dependent variable as compared with relationship performance which has been a common dependent construct in prior research. Furthermore, we explicitly and directly assess the relationship aspect of buyer–supplier links and thus our findings contain managerial implications as pointed out in the discussion section. Clearly, for global managers, understanding how successful management of the relationship with suppliers will impact their market performance as compared to that of rival firms is much more meaningful from a profitability perspective than simply knowing that their relationship with suppliers is superior without having quantifiable measures as in previous studies which are reviewed in the following sections. Finally, on the methodological front, we use a structural equation method that captures the entire relationship along with mediators in a single model of individualism–supplier relations-performance. The paper is organized as follows. The next section describes our conceptual model and literature. We then develop hypotheses relating individualism to supplier relationship characteristics. This section is followed by research methods, results and then the conclusion.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The relationship between buyers and suppliers is directly related with performance and competitive advantage and this is especially true in the case of certain vertically integrated manufacturing industries. These partnerships when cross-cultural are often challenged by cultural differences. Research questions related to these factors have not been sufficiently explored and findings of few existing studies are grounded in economic theories. Instead, using the social exchanges view, we examined the effect of individualism and face-to-face communication on the relational norms of trust, supplier involvement and the influence of relational norms on relative market performance. In the context of the buyer–supplier dyad, we took stock of extant knowledge on these issues and made a contribution by filling the exposed gaps significantly in four ways as below. By bringing in the role of face-to-face communication as a mechanism to build trust and supplier involvement and the influence of culture on this form of communication. We found that individualistic cultures tend to engage in lower levels of social interaction modes such as face to face communication. This indicates that buyers are not easily willing to make or invite visits and/or discuss the production process and thereby tend to benefit less from face-to-face communication and its indirect effects. We find that when organizations have more face-to-face interaction through site visits by technical staff and engineers, participating in production stages, interacting in different projects, etc., they are more likely to participate in activities such as monitoring assembly line and flow of this line and demand and establishing cross-cultural teams. In addition, face-to-face communication also increases the level of trust in a relationship between buyer and supplier. The finding about the importance of face-to-face interaction is perhaps the most interesting and novel one of the study because it contradicts the result of a very influential study (Dyer & Chu, 2000) and because it is almost entirely an under-researched construct in this field. We hope that our study will be able to draw attention to its relevance. On the measurement front, we operationalized face-to-face communication differently from the few studies in the field. Instead of using a single numerical measure such as the number of days of contact between the buyers and suppliers, we derived a more complete and comprehensive measure of face-to-face communication which was better able to denote information exchanges. This enabled us to make a methodological contribution. By finding empirical support for the theoretical message of social exchanges in the buyer–supplier relationship which has previously been viewed as a purely economic exchange. Herein lay the theoretical implications of the study. We hope that future studies will be able to incorporate other such variables in their projects mainly because as social exchange theorists have consistently argued, even pure economic exchanges such as those between buyers and suppliers have social components that enhance the benefits of the economic interaction. Whereas economic instruments such as legal contracts go a long way in ensuring that both buyers as well as suppliers behave as per contractual expectations, especially in certain cultures, relational governance through trust and supplier involvement can complement and provide strong support for the successful execution of the relationship and ultimately for performance, as our study illustrated in terms of its managerial implications. By highlighting the effect of the cultural orientation of individualism on relational norms such as trust and supplier involvement, which has not been explicitly tested before via a cross-cultural comparison in the manner adopted in this paper. We reasoned that individualist buyers are less likely to engage in high levels and high quality social exchanges due to their cultural tendencies to promote self interest and view themselves as non members in a group with suppliers. Hence, they would be less likely to voluntarily involve suppliers in the production process. Our findings were in keeping with these expectations. We also argued that as compared with collectivist buyers, individualists would demonstrate lower level of trust in suppliers. Although the coefficient for this relationship was negative, it was also insignificant thus disallowing us from drawing any conclusions based on the direction of the relationship. In fact, our results indicate that there is no association between a greater degree of individualism and trust in suppliers. This is surprising given the theoretical assertion of previous studies such as that by Doney, Cannon, and Mullen (1998) which elaborates on the process of trust development in individualist cultures. It might be possible to attribute this finding to measurement errors because we only used two levels of individualism. It could also be due to the over-emphasis that individualists put on contracts and hence, it could be that the trust is in the enforcement of the legal contract which would mediate their trust in suppliers. This is a limitation of the study and requires further investigation especially due to these mixed results. By examining the direct or indirect impact of individualism, relational norms and face-to-face communication on relative market performance. Our study's additional managerial implications are evident in the positive effects that relational norms have on performance, which indicate that supplier relationship management is important for profitability ( Tangpong & Ro, 2009). Once again, our study was distinguished from the existing ones on these issues because we chose to focus on a more comprehensive operationalization of buyer performance. We showed that involvement of suppliers and trust are conducive to performance as expected. But, we also found that face-to-face communication has an indirect impact on performance through supplier involvement and trust. However, individualism is negatively and indirectly related to performance through supplier involvement. This finding needs to be interpreted with caution firstly, because supplier involvement captures only one aspect of the indirect relationship between individualism and performance and secondly because our measure of performance was measured holistically and self reported. This is consistent with prior literature ( Brouthers et al., 2003, Brouthers, 2002, Kotabe et al., 2002 and Murray et al., 2005) that also used subjective measures of performance. If we were to disintegrate it into financial, marketing, customer-based, etc., we might be able to better isolate the differences of individualist as opposed to collectivist tendencies through different mediators. This too is a limitation of our study. On the side, we explored the effect of buyer firm size (number of employees) and found that it did not affect performance in the supply chain but another measure of firm size (annual sales volume) did negatively influence performance. This may be explained by the structure of the organization. Organizations with higher sales may be international firms which have adopted more western styles of management structure and employed less face-to-face interaction in transactions with suppliers. On the other hand, organizations with fewer sales may be local companies that have structured their organization and supply chain in more traditional ways. As with many others, our study suffered from some limitations which might also provide interesting areas for further research in addition to the ones pointed out above. Our results demonstrate that Brazilian individuals and/or organizations prefer to have more face-to-face interaction with their suppliers thereby leading to increased trust in suppliers. Thus, by this logic, Brazilian buyer firms will experience higher performance than American firms if they engage in face-to-face interaction with their suppliers. However, there might be other non-cultural or firm/industry/environment related factors that will confound this association between face to face interaction, supplier involvement and performance. We were not able to include these in our study but hope that later studies will do so. We should also keep in mind that our results might not apply where organizations use other type of media to communicate rather than face-to-face interaction. The use of media and other communication facilitators might differently affect buyer–supplier engagement. This limits the applicability of this study. Other studies should also examine other dimensions and operationalizations of culture as they apply to buyer–supplier relationships. With respect to data collection, many of our respondents were directors of purchasing although we also included responses from plant managers. Nevertheless, we admit that it is likely to create a buyer bias although it might not necessarily always be the case. A flaw in our research design was that our data were not longitudinal which might have enabled us to better address whether our unsupported hypothesis was due to the time context. Finally, Iammarino and McCann (2006) argue that the frequency of face-to-face contact varies significantly between different industrial sectors. In that case, the results of this study might be generalizable to the auto and certain other ‘global’ industries in which supplier involvement is a crucial part of the production process. By that same token, the application of the findings to other sectors or industries might be an error of stretching it out of context. Therefore, the study needs to be replicated in order to ascertain its value to other manufacturing businesses. However, we can make some generalizations based on our study to bring out its applications for theory and practice. For one, trust is very important in buyer–supplier relationships in certain specific industries such as auto due to the high asset specificity and additional risk that partners might behave opportunistically as well as due to market uncertainty (Dyer & Chu, 2000). Therefore, buyers in these industries should prioritize the establishment of trust through social exchange processes with suppliers. Although we did not explicitly include collectivism as a measure in our study, due to the manner in which Hofstede conceptualized the individualism dimension as being a part of the individualism/collectivism continuum, we can possibly apply our results to collectivist buyers also. It is also assumed that Western societies such as the United States are relatively more individualistic than societies in developing countries (Oyserman, Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2002). Therefore, our findings might be able to shed some broad light on the nature of relationships between Western firms which are more developed and developing country firms. This is also a possible avenue for future studies. In sum, our study contributes to the global supply chain literature regarding the effects of culture on the relationship between buyers and suppliers. Since performance is an end goal, practitioners can have a broader view of the antecedents of improved performance in a supply chain. This study also reveals how elements of culture (individualism–collectivism) have an indirect effect on performance. This information can be critical for organizations that have international partners in their supply chain network.