به سوی یک گونه شناسی از شفافیت برای تحقیق مدیریت بازاریابی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21178||2007||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7215 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 36, Issue 5, July 2007, Pages 627–635
This paper explores and extends the concept of transparency, as transparency-related terminology in marketing management research is limited in its typological development. Building on previous research, it outlines four types of transparency and extends them by adding three related facets. The four types are: cost transparency, supply transparency, organizational transparency and technological transparency. The expanded concept of transparency is discussed and analyzed using four illustrations, based on case studies conducted at two focal firms in the Swedish manufacturing industry. The study contributes to the field of marketing management research by showing the interrelatedness of information technology exploitation, trust and transparency. In addition, the study highlights the dynamic aspects of the transparency concept. In contrast to results of former studies, the present findings indicate that increased transparency in buyer–supplier relationships brings about not only positive, but also some negative effects.
For some years now, exploitation of information technology has been discussed as an influence on the way in which businesses conduct marketing and purchasing activities in a business-to-business context. The question of how information technology should be exploited is thought to be one of the most important current concerns among marketing and supply managers. The reason for this interest and concern is, of course, the gains in efficiency and decreased costs of information, communication, distribution and transactions that are associated with exploitation of information technology.The research question that has guided us in our study is: How does increased transparency enabled by information technology affects buyer–supplier relationships? Our objective is to facilitate theoretical understanding as well as to outline a framework of practical relevance. In this paper, we aim to expand the concept of transparency and to propose a transparency typology for marketing management research. Moreover, the framework outlined here is applicable not only to descriptions of transparency enabled by information technology, but also to descriptions of transparency in general. There is a large body of scholarly work contributing to our understanding of marketing practice and marketing management. However, studies addressing transparency in this context are few (Eggert & Helm, 2003). We may turn to economics to see how transparency has been dealt with in previous research. In price theory, transparency has traditionally been seen as a way to improve market quality. Here, complete transparency is an attribute of what is called perfect competition (e.g., Stiegler, 1966). In transaction cost economics, scholars have focused on how costs associated with market imperfection may be dealt with (e.g., Williamson, 1981). In fact, much of the research on e-markets and e-marketing applies the transaction cost perspective when describing the driving forces behind and the benefits of exploiting information technology for marketing purposes (e.g., Malone, Yates, & Benjamin, 1987). Here, transparency seems to be a way of enabling decreased transaction costs, for example, the costs of searching for suitable suppliers or customers and of making comparisons between alternative offers. The exploitation of information technology has given new energy to discussions of transparency and related issues. Here, transparency is defined as the ability to ‘see through’ and to share information that is usually not shared between two business partners (Lamming, Caldwell, Harrison, & Phillips, 2001). The promise shown by e-enabled businesses and e-based techniques, such as e-auctions, has emphasized the role of transparency. However, it is our belief that the existing research on transparency in business marketing research has failed to present a coherent set of concepts that more generally describe the phenomenon of transparency in business relationships. The typology proposed here contributes to constructing such a set of concepts. The proposed typology stresses the notion that there are more aspects of a relationship to ‘see through’ and that concepts of transparency have many facets. It is evident that both the concern with and interest in transparency have grown thanks to the augmentation of information technology applications in marketing and purchasing activities. Our study shows that issues of transparency, trust and information technology exploitation are largely interrelated. In contrast to the results of former studies, our findings indicate that increased transparency in buyer–supplier relationships brings about not only positive, but also some negative effects.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Based on the two case studies reported here, we find that increased transparency in buyer–supplier relationships could bring about not only positive, but also some negative effects. In fact, increased transparency may create frustration and, in some cases, may also be a source of problems. As it seems, it is not transparency per se that is the goal in the cases we have outlined, but the promise of efficiency and effectiveness inherent in transparency. In addition, although transparency seems to solve, for example, problems of efficiency in flows of materials, product development and supplier search, new levels of transparency also seem to produce ‘new’ types of problems. One example of this is the illustration of cost transparency and the electronic marketplace, Covisint, which many suppliers in the automotive industry saw as a threat, as it made the market somewhat too transparent. As already noted, a general trend in marketing management is toward closer relationships. Covisint is one example of the fact that electronic marketplaces generally go against this trend. Could this explain why this very promising project failed? Firms such as AlphaCorp tried to work against Covisint and resist involvement. Being present on a marketplace in which their products could easily be compared with those of others made it more difficult to create close relationships, because too much transparency would cause their products to become commoditized. The findings of our study have extended the concept of transparency. The previous sections illustrate the four different types of transparency we propose in this report (see Fig. 1). By proposing a typology of transparency for marketing management research and practice, we have contributed a framework that may not only help researchers give sharper and better descriptions of the phenomenon, but that may also improve management practice. If we again consider the findings of related studies on buyer–supplier transparency referred to in this report, we may conclude that the results reported here are somewhat different. Eggert and Helm (2003) find that transparency contributes to the overall success of a buyer–vendor relationship, delivers value to the customers and also increases satisfaction. In line with our study, Lamming et al. (2002) found that communication problems could be linked to transparency. However, in the case reported by Lamming et al., the problems were caused by a lack of transparency. The lack of transparency led to manipulation of information, the issuing of false or misleading information and protection mechanisms between actors in the supply chain. This study indicates that the presence of transparency may also lead to problems, as illustrated in the cases presented above. Thus, our research presents a somewhat different picture from that presented in previous research. Based on our study, we may conclude that there is an important link between trust and transparency development. This is related to the nature of uncertainty in industrial markets. One example is that of BetaCorp, where some of the suppliers were reluctant to share information due to a possible power shift in the structure of the relationship. For the suppliers of BetaCorp, increased transparency would certainly reduce uncertainty in some respects. However, an interesting trade-off is uncovered here, as transparency also seems to increase uncertainty in other respects. Thus, transparency entails risks and a need to find a proper balance. The suppliers would have to trust BetaCorp with information that could be used to create negative outcomes for them. For managers, a major implication of this study is the importance of learning how to manage these new levels of transparency. The case of AlphaCorp also provides empirical examples of the link between trust and transparency. For AlphaCorp, transparency created possibilities for the involved business partners to use direct channels. However, as shown in the case study, this could also, at times, create inefficiencies and disharmony. An additional managerial implication is, therefore, that before opening up such channels, a company should ensure that there is no need for some sort of a filter to limit the free access of business partners to various parts of the organization. Involved companies need to be fully aware of what kind of businesses they are dealing with. The promises inherent in the exploitation of transparency are great, but only as long as the parties are able to trust one another. Otherwise, increased transparency may change the relationship into something less trustworthy and more opportunistic. In conclusion, the purpose of this paper is to expand the concept of transparency in buyer–supplier relationships through a discussion on the effects of information technology. Our four illustrations present four different examples of information technology exploitation and transparency development. Part of the contribution of this research lies in showing the interrelatedness of information technology exploitation, trust and transparency. In addition, our report stresses the dynamic aspects of the transparency concept. We hope that the four facets of transparency proposed here will bring about further theoretical understanding and analysis of the phenomenon. Because the increased transparency shown in our illustrations seems to have had benefits as well as drawbacks, the perceptions of transparency as something positive or as something problematic may be a good starting point for further studies. The antecedents and consequences of transparency are additional issues for further research. The framework provided by this exploratory research may certainly serve as the basis for a quantitative and explanatory study. With the current attempts in the automotive industry to manage supply chain transparency and increased integration — a natural development of information technology exploitation — we may expect to see a growing number of empirical examples that will allow us to study this issue in the future.