توسعه نامتقارن روابط مشتری تامین کننده در شرکت های الکترونیکی تایوانی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21123||2012||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 41, Issue 4, May 2012, Pages 692–705
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relationship development stages of asymmetric customer–supplier relationships. The structure of relationships between larger customers and smaller suppliers has been the focus of a number of studies in IMP (Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group) research. But, there is a paucity of research that examines development stages in relationships where a difference in size between the parties exists. The paper links the characteristics of asymmetric customer–supplier relationships and the relationship development stages through a literature review. The findings from a set of five in-depth case studies of asymmetric customer–supplier relationships in the Taiwanese electronics industry are presented. The case studies involved 50 semi-structured interviews with customer and supplier executives and, in addition, multiple observations of customer–supplier interactions within each case study. Individual and cross-case analysis was conducted to examine the links between the characteristics of asymmetric customer–supplier relationships and relationship development stages. The findings revealed that asymmetric customer–supplier relationships in the Taiwanese electronics industry were very unbalanced and vulnerable in the exploratory stage of development. In the developing stage relationships were more likely to develop if suppliers and customers mirrored each other's behaviour and echoed each other's priorities. In the stable stage suppliers and customers worked on shared and balanced contributions to the relationship. The paper contributes to the understanding of how smaller suppliers and larger customers can identify and develop key sets of relationship characteristics through the exploratory, developing and stable stages of asymmetric relationship development from both customer and supplier perspectives.
Since the 1980s asymmetry has been found to have a potentially destabilising effect on business relationships (Harrigan, 1988). Relationships are more likely to run smoothly if the capabilities, resources and characteristics of the relationship are a good strategic fit and have a certain level of complementarity between the parties involved (Tu, 2010). Researchers have highlighted that existing research fails to encapsulate the complex balance of characteristics in customer–supplier relationships and the corresponding influences on relationship development (Holmlund, 2004). Understanding the nature and influences of asymmetric customer–supplier relationships may enable both parties to have a more transparent vision of their potential within the relationship and on their ability to set development priorities and manage problems during relationship development (Ford & Saren, 2001). In the industrial marketing literature, asymmetry has been understood in terms of the links between size difference (based on number of employees of the total organisation) and certain individual relationship characteristics (Johnsen & Ford, 2008). For example, a number of authors have attempted to understand how characteristics such as power, commitment, dependence or knowledge may be associated with asymmetry in relationships (Gundlach et al., 1995, Holmlund and Kock, 1996 and Söllner, 1998). Following Johnsen and Ford (2008), we define asymmetry as an imbalance in the size and characteristics of a relationship. For example, a supplier may be smaller than its customer and have less power, but more trust in the relationship than its larger counterpart. Despite existing research on relationship development being well-considered in the literature, asymmetric relationship development is a relatively new area of study and remains less clear ( Andersen & Kumar, 2006). Findings from recent studies indicate that the consequences of size asymmetry may have positive and negative effects for smaller suppliers in relationships with larger customers ( Hingley, 2005 and Johnsen and Ford, 2008). Smaller suppliers may need to decide how to capitalise on their advantages of size asymmetry by working more closely within their larger current customer relationships, or they may need to develop ways to overcome relationship problems to enable relationships with larger customers to flourish ( Hingley, 2005; Johnsen & Ford, 2008). Most studies to date have sought to understand asymmetry from only the perspective of one side of the relationship — either the smaller supplier or the larger customer's viewpoint (Claycomb & Frankwick, 2010). However, customer and supplier perceptions may differ widely in relationships (Claycomb & Frankwick, 2010). Moreover, little research to date has captured how asymmetric relationships may change across different stages of relationship development (Andersen and Kumar, 2006 and Eggert et al., 2006). In short, there is scope to expand the existing literature in the domains of asymmetric relationships and relationship development to examine the influence of asymmetric relationships on relationship development from both a smaller supplier and a larger customer perspective. Therefore, this paper contributes to existing research through an investigation of the ways in which different characteristics of asymmetric relationships evolve during the stages of customer–supplier relationship development. We address the following specific research question in this study: • How do the characteristics of asymmetric customer–supplier relationships evolve during the exploratory, developing and stable stages of the relationship? In the following sections the theoretical and empirical context of the paper are established. We focus on an examination of the characteristics of asymmetric relationships during the stages of relationship development in customer–supplier relationships. The findings from the empirical study are discussed and conclusions and conceptual and managerial lessons are presented.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper set out to examine the characteristics of asymmetric customer–supplier relationships during the exploratory, developing and stable stages of relationship development. Previous studies on asymmetric relationships have shown that relationship characteristics are important determinants of the nature of asymmetry and possess the potential for suppliers or customers to achieve their desired outcomes in their relationships (Hingley, 2005, Johnsen and Ford, 2008 and Johnsen et al., 2008). The linking of the full set of characteristics of asymmetry and relationship development stages is a key contribution of this study. Our contribution is both conceptual and empirical and encompasses a new typology of the asymmetric relationship development stages, empirical findings on the typology and data from both larger customers and smaller suppliers. Our findings have important implications for customers and suppliers through focusing on key relationship characteristics at different relationship stages. The findings show that the relationship characteristics in asymmetric relationships vary at each stage of development (exploratory, developing and stable), and that three distinctive patterns are each critical for supporting the relationship through the three stages (see Fig. 1). Full-size image (40 K) Fig.1. Relationship development model for asymmetric relationships. Figure options Fig. 1 is a simplified illustration of our conclusions on the relationship development stages in asymmetric relationships. This illustration shows that in the exploratory stage mutuality, cooperation, conflict, intensity, interpersonal inconsistency, power/dependence and trust are of critical importance in building the relationship and coping with problems between smaller suppliers and larger customers. In the developing stage mutuality, particularity, cooperation, intensity, interpersonal inconsistency, power/dependence and trust are the focus of larger customers and smaller suppliers in establishing and managing the relationship, creating the foundations for long-term interactions. In the stable stage ensuring the continuation of the relationship depends on maintaining the smaller suppliers' and larger customers' emphasis on mutuality, particularity, cooperation, and intensity and dealing with power/dependence and trust issues. We now draw conclusions on how each of the relationship characteristics is manifested during the asymmetric relationship development stages shown in Fig. 1. Mutuality was essential in creating equilibrium in asymmetric relationships (Ford et al., 1986) and was particularly important in the exploratory and developing stages to steer the relationship and develop commonly understood priorities. Particularity was an important issue for both larger customers and smaller suppliers in the developing stage, but it became especially critical for suppliers in ensuring the longevity of their relationships with larger customers through the stable stage. Particularity supported suppliers in demonstrating their uniqueness and value to larger customers. Cooperation was desirable for smaller suppliers in the exploratory stage of asymmetric relationships, but did not become of interest to larger customers until the developing stage. Overcoming conflict was important in improving the quality of the relationship and the long-term trust between the parties (Claycomb and Frankwick, 2010, Mohr and Speckman, 1994 and Ren et al., 2010). Conflict was a major issue for both larger customers and smaller suppliers in the exploratory stage of the relationship, but once the developing stage had been reached overt conflicts were significantly reduced and in the stable stage they were dissolved completely. Intensity developed from few customer–supplier interactions with a limited number of lower-level staff in the exploratory stage, to increased cross-functional and cross-firm involvement in the developing stage. In the stable stage senior personnel became more involved (Geser, 1992) and long-term friendships evolved. Interpersonal inconsistency was a concern predominantly in the exploratory stage. The energy which enabled the firms to establish shared communication patterns was important in propelling them to the developing stage of the relationship (Havila & Wilkinson, 2002). The important impetus in the developing stage was the ability of the larger customer and smaller supplier to mirror each other's behaviour and echo each other's priorities in their communications. This created a positive setting for the stable stage in which the larger customer and smaller supplier communicated on more equal terms. Power could be coercively used in relationships to manipulate a positive outcome for the stronger party (Frazier and Antia, 1995 and Hausman and Johnston, 2010). In the exploratory stage customers appeared to control their smaller suppliers and encourage dependence. However, after the exploratory or ‘test’ phase, power was more evenly distributed and dependence waned if suppliers were able to demonstrate their value in areas deemed important by customers. In the exploratory stage contractual trust developed in both parties (Sako, 1992). However, in the developing stage suppliers could already have developed goodwill trust in customers, while trust by customers remained at the competence trust level. Goodwill trust was evident for both parties in the stable stage. Unevenness of trust could be destabilising for the asymmetric relationship.