اثر متقابل هنجارهای رابطه و عامل مشارکتی بر فرصت طلبی در روابط خریدار - تامین کننده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21215||2010||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 28, Issue 5, September 2010, Pages 398–414
In this study, we examined the effect of relational norms and agent cooperativeness on opportunism in buyer–supplier relationships. Drawing from the theoretical grounding of transaction cost economics, personality trait theory, and contingency theory, we proposed three distinct perspectives on opportunism mitigation in buyer–supplier relationships: (1) organizationalist, (2) individualist, and (3) interactionist, where relational norms, agent cooperativeness, and the interaction between them, respectively, serve as the key predictors in these three perspectives. The results of replicated experiments indicated that relational norms and agent cooperativeness interact with each other in mitigating opportunism and that the interactionist perspective yielded the highest explained variance in opportunism. This suggests that the interactionist perspective, a multi-level theoretical lens encompassing the dynamic interplay between organization-level and individual-level factors, was a more complete model in explaining opportunism than either the organizationalist or individualist perspectives. The consensus which emerged from post-experimental interviews of purchasing professionals is that agent personalities play an important role in buyer–supplier relationships. Some purchasing professionals had observed that uncooperative agents or personnel turnover in the boundary-spanning functions can substantially undermine even established relational exchanges. These qualitative findings are in line with our theoretical arguments and experimental outcomes.
The topic of opportunism is one that has been studied in various buyer–supplier contexts (e.g., Carson et al., 2006 and Jap and Anderson, 2003). Opportunism can occur when either firm in a buyer–supplier dyad unilaterally behaves for its own gain (Conner and Prahalad, 1996) and strains negotiations between firms. In the supply chain context, opportunism can encompass a wide range of behaviors (Carson et al., 2006 and Wathne and Heide, 2000). Some of these may be passive, as in the case of quality shirking and misrepresentation or exaggeration of capability, or active, as in the case of contract breaching and violation of promotion agreements (Arino, 2001). Opportunism can even result in production disruptions, causing supply chain inefficiencies and significant negative economic impacts (Morgan et al., 2007). In addition, the formation of supply chain alliances between firms may fail due to the fear of opportunistic behaviors by potential partners (McCarter and Northcraft, 2007). These adverse consequences of opportunism on firm and supply chain performance stress the importance of controlling opportunism occurrences in exchange relationships (Hendricks and Singhal, 2005 and Morgan et al., 2007). Managers thus dedicate considerable resources and efforts to monitoring and controlling exchange partners in highly opportunistic risk situations (Wathne and Heide, 2000). To effectively structure the various types of firm governance modes that function to prevent opportunism within an exchange relationship poses an important and difficult challenge. The extant research has attempted to identify self-enforcing safeguards such as the use of market, hierarchy, and relational governance approaches and has studied their strengths in mitigating opportunism (e.g., Carson et al., 2006 and Wuyts and Geyskens, 2005). Nevertheless, recent research on the mitigation of buyer–supplier opportunism has focused on organization-level governance mechanisms, particularly relational governance through the use of relational norms. These relational mechanisms are typically referred to as the values shared among exchange partners concerning appropriate behavior that maintains or improves their relationship (e.g., Heide and John, 1992, Macneil, 1980 and Noordewier et al., 1990). However, this stream of research has largely ignored the role of human agents in mitigating opportunism in buyer–supplier relationships. Without considering the role of human agents in the opportunism-mitigating mechanism, we run the risk of attributing potential effects that are indeed exerted from individuals’ characteristics and behaviors to that of firms, thus leading to a cross-level fallacy that threatens the validity of the research findings (Rousseau, 1985, Zaheer et al., 1998 and Burton-Jones and Gallivan, 2007). The importance of human agents in various aspects of exchange relationships has been highlighted by a broad range of management and business literature such as supply chain management (e.g., Batt, 2003, Faes et al., 2001 and Marshall et al., 2007), organizational studies (e.g., Williamson, 1979 and Zaheer et al., 1998), and marketing (e.g., Jap, 2001), as well as practitioner-oriented literature (e.g., Anderson and Jap, 2005). These literature streams reinforce the need to study factors at the individual (i.e., agent) level when examining interorganizational dynamics and motivate us to recenter the analytical lens on individual agents when investigating opportunism in buyer–supplier relationships. By extending the current research in buyer–supplier opportunism beyond emphasizing relational norms as a key opportunism-mitigating factor, this study addresses two research questions: (1) ‘What are the main effects of agent characteristics on mitigating opportunism?’ and (2) ‘What are the interaction effects of agent characteristics and relational norms on mitigating opportunism?’ Through an investigation of the personal characteristics of human agents in tandem with relational norms, this study potentially provides a more generalizable multi-level theory of opportunism mitigation in buyer–supplier relationships and sheds insights into the effectiveness of opportunism-mitigation practices in supply chains. Since managers and sales/purchasing professionals in buyer and supplier firms often act as decision-making agents in exchange-related decisions, they may tend to engage in dynamic processes embedded in their exchange relationship, such as information sharing, joint problem solving, and conflict resolution that can be categorized as varying degrees of cooperative behaviors. These cooperative behaviors facilitate communication, enhance mutual gains between exchange partners, mediate inter-firm conflicts, and promote a long-term orientation in the exchange relationship, thus potentially mitigating opportunism (e.g., Dabholkar et al., 1994 and Weitz and Bradford, 1999). As such, our investigative efforts are specifically focused on the effect of decision-making agents’ cooperativeness (which refers to the personality trait that reflects an individual's predisposition to act in tolerant, empathetic, supportive, and compassionate manners towards others; refer to e.g., Cloninger et al., 1994) and on the interaction effect of agent cooperativeness and relational norms on opportunism in buyer–supplier relationships. As a pioneering step to unveil the agent-level effect on opportunism in buyer–supplier relationships, we focus our investigation on a single-agent exchange scenario, leaving a more complex multi-agent scenario for future research endeavors. In the next section, we provide the background of this study, which briefly summarizes key approaches to mitigating opportunism in the buyer–supplier relationship literature. Following this, we discuss the development of the hypotheses in Section 3 and the experiments and their results in Sections 4 and 5. We then end the paper with discussion and conclusion in Section 6.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The overall results in both experimental studies, coupled with the qualitative interview data, support the thrust that agents do matter in buyer–supplier relationships. The experimental results of Study 1 and Study 2 were largely consistent except for the significance of the main effect of relational norms on opportunism, which was significant in Study 2 but not in Study 1. This variation in the results may be due to the sample differences, as the subjects in Study 1 were mostly young business professionals in MBA courses (28.6 years old on average) with relatively limited management experience (1.8 years on average), whereas the subjects in Study 2 were seasoned purchasing professionals (49.1 years old and with 13.9 years of purchasing management experience on average). It is possible that decision-making agents with greater managerial maturity are more likely to recognize the importance of relational norms and have these norms as a primary guidance for their modus operandi. Relational norms thus exert a stronger main effect on opportunism tendencies among these agents than among those with far less managerial maturity. The significant and negative effect of relational norms on opportunism found in Study 2 is consistent with the extant buyer–supplier relationship literature (e.g., Carson et al., 2006, Heide and John, 1992 and Macneil, 1980). However, departing from the current literature, the key findings of Study 1 and Study 2 did converge and highlighted the significant interaction effect of relational norms (organization-level) and agent cooperativeness (agent-level) in mitigating opportunism. In both studies, the Interactionist model yielded significantly greater explained variance in opportunism than the Organizationalist and Individualist models, and the inclusion of the relational norms – agent cooperativeness interaction term into the model indeed rendered the main effect of agent cooperativeness on opportunism insignificant. These results suggest that the multi-level Interactionist model encompassing relational norms, agent cooperativeness, and their interaction is a more complete model than a single-level model (i.e., relational norms or agent cooperativeness in isolation) in explaining opportunism in buyer–supplier relationships, and that agent cooperativeness only acts in concert with relational norms in mitigating buyer–supplier opportunism. The pattern of opportunism across groups, revealed by the ANOVA and illustrated in Fig. 3, also highlights this point and reinforces the importance of taking both relational norms and agent cooperativeness into account when considering opportunism mitigation in buyer–supplier relationships. As these findings were consistent in both studies, we can presume that the interaction effect of relational norms and agent cooperativeness on opportunism is generalizable in both young/upcoming and seasoned/established decision-making agents. An explanation for these findings is based on the notion that relational norms may provide a context in which human agents with various degrees of cooperativeness operate. Although highly cooperative agents who are described as empathetic, supportive, and compassionate may be by nature less likely to act opportunistically, when operating in a competitive, low relational norm context, they may be reluctant to act according to their own conscience. In the terms of Tett and Guterman (2000), the low relational norm context may not be considered a trait-relevant context for agents with high cooperativeness as their personality trait. As a result, the cooperativeness of the agent cannot fully exert its opportunism-reducing effect in the low relational norm context. However, when human agents with low cooperativeness operate in a cooperative, high relational norm context, those agents who are less likely to cooperate by nature may not comply with the established cooperative, relational norms (e.g., Anderson and Jap, 2005). Consequently, the opportunism-reducing effect of relational norms is potentially compromised by uncooperative human agents, and the recurring opportunism may eventually drive the relationship to the point of dissolution, as suggested by the interview data (Section 5.2.1). The descriptive results in Table 4 and Table 7, and Fig. 3 also suggest that this uncooperative agent/high relational norm scenario appeared to breed the highest degree of opportunism in exchange relationships among all four scenarios. As such, the best-case scenario regarding opportunism reduction is when cooperative agents operate in a high relational norm context. In this circumstance, the natural predispositions of the cooperative agents are consonant with the operational guidance of the relational norms; therefore, the opportunism-reducing effects of both agent cooperativeness and relational norms can be fully realized. This line of reasoning is consistent with the fundamental logic of both contingency theory (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967) and the trait activation principle (e.g., Tett and Guterman, 2000).