نقش مهره کلیدی مرزی در شکل گیری جذابیت مشتری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21244||2012||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11758 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 41, Issue 8, November 2012, Pages 1228–1240
This paper examines the question of how to understand the formation of suppliers perceived customer attractiveness. It argues that existing conceptualization of buyer–supplier relationships are too simplistic to understand the full complexity involved in the formation of such perceptions, and models the buyer–supplier relationship as a set of micro-dyads and intra-, inter-organizational exchange relationships. In exploring these micro-dyads this research apply an embedded case study approach and explores three buyer–supplier relationships. Following Bacharach et al. [Bacharach, S.B., Bamberger, P., & Sonnenstuhl, W.J. (1996). The organizational transformation process: The micropolitics of dissonance reduction and the alignment of logics of action. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41(3), 477–506.], it is interested in the involved actors sense-making processes and the concept of “logics of action” is deployed. The analysis demonstrates how suppliers' formation of perceptions related to customer attractiveness can be understood as constituted through a set of discrete historical means/ends alignments and misalignments between boundary spanning roles in the involved organizations.
Within the literature exploring buyer–supplier relationships development, the importance of building relationships that are perceived by both parties as beneficial is increasingly recognized as a valuable resource (Dyer and Singh, 1998 and McCarter and Northcraft, 2007). As a consequence, concepts such as perceived satisfaction, perceived value, perceived trust and perceived attraction held by the involved firms, have been explored as fundamental measures of relationship endurance and development (Dwyer et al., 1987, Hald et al., 2009, Morgan and Hunt, 1994, Van der Haar et al., 2001 and Zaheer et al., 1998). Building key suppliers positive perceptions towards customer organizations arguably holds especially high potential. Such relational strategies have been seen as directly linked to customers increased access to important supplier resources (Christiansen and Maltz, 2002, Cordon and Vollmann, 2002 and Ellegaard and Ritter, 2006). This paper contributes to our understanding of the dynamics involved in forming supplier organizations positive attitudes towards a customer organization. It conceptualizes dyadic relationships as multiple relationships between boundary spanning functions. This is a non-trivial contribution, since the question on how suppliers' perceptions towards a customer organization can be positively affected tends to be conceptualizes as a study representing the dyad as a relationship between two firms. Traditional conceptualizations thus implicitly assume that alignment of perceptions inside a firm towards a partnering firm is unproblematic and already existing. When asked, who is attracted and satisfied?, it answers “the firm”, not the subsystems it contains such as departmental/functional actors or individuals. They simplify the dyad and overlook the possibility that different actors and actor-clusters inside the supplier organization (i.e. sales, technology, and logistics) might be internally misaligned in the perceptions they hold towards the customer and potentially towards different functional team within the customer organization. Organizations are pluralistic, divided into interests, sub-units, and subcultures (Pfeffer, 1982, p. 64). “It is quite common that engineers will have different perceptions than those more directly related to product costs or to factory operations. Thus, there can be a lack of alignment in a company as to the perceived value of innovation” ( Hald et al., 2009, p. 963). This research thus explores the potential that multiple perceptions related to the customer can co-exist at any one point in time within a supplier organization. In exploring these perceptions, it is interested in the involved actors sense-making processes related to the formation of positive or negative attitudes held towards the customer organization. Specifically and in accordance with contemporary definitions, this research models such positive and negative attitudes as different levels of customer attractiveness and supplier satisfaction (Schiele, Veldman, & Hüttinger, 2010). Customer attractiveness is seen as an ex-ante expectation and supplier satisfaction as an ex-post experience, and both are related to perceived cost and benefit effects resulting from the relationship with the customer. This research understands customer attractiveness and supplier satisfaction as highly interdependent perceptual dynamics in buyer–supplier relationships. However due to identified gaps in literature this research directs special attention to the formation of customer attractiveness and understands supplier satisfaction as a necessary component is such formation. Specifically, the following research question is addressed: When representing buyer–supplier relationships as multiple relationships between boundary spanning functions, how should we understand the formation of customer attractiveness? In order to theoretical conceptualize the research question the organizational theory by Bacharach, Bamberger, and Sonnenstuhl (1996) is applied. It maintains that organizations comprise reciprocal social exchange relationships based on dependence. It further represents organizations as comprising a set of sub-groupings each of which holds different cognitions or logics of actions. These theoretical assumptions fit well with the objectives outlined in the research question, where customer attractiveness is modeled as the overall expected level of alignment between involved organizational actors' logics of action. A field study is conducted. Data is collected through an embedded case study of an industrial supply cluster comprising a focal buying company located in the Food and Brewage industry and its interaction with three different suppliers all located in the packaging industry. A total of 22 semi structured interviews is conducted with actors located in the different functional dyads in the buying and the supplying firms. Findings suggest that inherently perceptions of customer attractiveness are misaligned across functional dyads, and that this misalignment is caused by the nature of work and the different objectives across functions. Further, changes such as the introduction of a new supplier, a product substitution, product/process innovations or price increases affect levels of perceived supplier satisfaction differently in the different functional dyads. When a change takes place, it affects involved actors supplier satisfaction and the distribution of customer attractiveness in the dyad could be thrown out of balance. Finally and as a practical implication of the findings, it is proposed, that if the inherent misalignments that exist across the functional dyads are not managed properly this might cause disturbance, lead to low and declining levels of customer attractiveness, and ultimate deteriorations in relationships strengths in the buyer–supplier relationships in question. These findings will be elaborated further in the paper. The paper is structured as follows. First, the literature on the formation and consequence of positive supplier attitude towards customers is briefly reviewed. Building on the gaps identified, the paper is then positioned in the wider organizational literature discussing roles of boundary spanners, inter-functional- and inter-personal trust. A theoretical framework for the analysis of involved actors sense-making processes related to the formation of customer attractiveness and the concept of “logics of actions” is developed. The fourth section presents the methodology. This is followed by, a presentation of the empirics. Involved logics of action are analyzed and findings are used to structure a discussion of the mechanisms involved in the formation of suppliers' satisfaction and customer attractiveness in buyer–supplier relationships. Contributions and limitations of the study, issues for future research and managerial implications finalize the paper.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The purpose of the paper was to contribute to the still limited discussion on the formation and consequence of positive supplier attitude towards customers. Specifically, the paper has addressed the question of how to understand the formation of perceptions related to customer attractiveness. Arguing that representations of buyer–supplier relationships as two meso-actors are much too simplified to explore how a buyer can become attractive to key suppliers this research represents buyer–supplier relationships as a set of micro-dyads and intra-, inter-organizational exchange relationships. Analysis shows how the application of the organizational change theory put forward by Bacharach et al. (1996) fits well to the problem at hand. Using the concept of logics of action this research demonstrates how suppliers' formation of perceptions related to customer attractiveness can be understood as constituted through a set of discrete historical means/ends alignments and misalignments between boundary spanning roles in the two organizations. Each of these events may lead to changes in the levels of supplier satisfaction and this in turn to overall changes in the distribution of customer attractiveness. This is a contribution to existing literature discussing antecedents of supplier satisfaction and customer attractiveness, and focusing more narrowly on adding to long lists of generic and stationary factors promoting such attractiveness. This research further contributes to our knowledge on the formation of customer attractiveness by identifying patterns in misalignment emergence and resolution. Following Zaheer et al. (1998), a distinction between primary and secondary exchange relationships is made, and three types of misalignments of logics of actions identified. Notably, based on the case evidence it is proposed that misalignments and thus a potentially weakening in levels of attractiveness in the dyadic relationships is higher in secondary exchange relationships and that this is caused by the involved generically opposite logics of action that can be found across different functional levels within a buying or supplying organization. This explanation is consistent with theory suggesting that organizations are pluralistic, divided into interests, sub-units, and subcultures (Pfeffer, 1982, p. 64). This research adds to this understanding by demonstrating how boundary-spanners inter-organizational exchange relationships are pluralistic and how this may weaken the total inter-organizational structure. Specifically we can highlight three overall contributions of this research: 1. First, this research contributes by developing a typology of miss-alignments in buyer–supplier relationships (Fig. 3). This typology might prove helpful in future micro-dyadic conceptualizations of buyer–supplier relationships. 2. Second, the findings from this research highlight how a few major events can be understood as being highly influential in shaping first the level of supplier satisfaction and next the distribution and level of customer attractiveness spread across the different micro-dyadic relationships in the buyer–supplier dyad. 3. Third, findings from several of the studied buyer–supplier relationships highlight how high turnover of personnel seems to be very detrimental to levels of supplier satisfaction. Also for managers, this research holds implications. Especially for buying firms interacting with key suppliers in order to access their innovations, the micro-dyadic view proposed in this paper might prove valuable. First, adopting a micro-dyadic view might help functional actors in the focal buying firm to increase their awareness of the specific consequences of their actions for the level of supplier attractiveness spread across different functional levels within the supplier organization. Specifically this research have taken a first step to identify a list of change activities that inherently, if not proactively mitigated, may cause misalignment and reductions in supplier satisfaction and customer attractiveness. Such a list and its future extensions leading from further research adopting similar conceptualizations should be a valuable resource for category managers in firms' interacting with key suppliers. Second, the boundary–spanner means/ends relationship mapping approach exemplified in this paper (Fig. 4) might prove helpful to category- or key account managers in their efforts trying to stabilize or develop a buyer–supplier relationship. Such managers might adopt a method similar to the one applied in this study and convert it to a hands on approach for assessing the robustness of their mutual relationship. This will potential identify the location of inconsistencies in logics of actions in the dyad and help such managers' better target and lay out strategies and actions for how to resolve dysfunctional buyer–supplier relationship practices. The major limitation of this research is that the findings are derived from only three buyer–supplier relationships embedded with the same customer. Taking an explorative theory building approach a high level of depth and detail in the retrieved data material is achieved at the expense of a higher number of cases. Therefore this research encourages future research to replicate this research with other cases and further to apply survey based research in order to test generalizability of the findings. Also, the theoretical framework used, although demonstrated as highly valuable to this research, in itself holds some major limitations. By its very nature, it gives no room for diversity within a functional boundary spanning role, and thus assumes uniformity across personalities and social habitus. This research makes a distinction between supplier satisfaction and customer attractiveness; however, this distinction is not fully developed in the data and analysis. For instance, no data on customer alternatives are included in the research. This is a major limitation and future research should seek to include such data and make a clearer distinction between theses perceptual concepts. Finally, in the method, focus was placed on the identification of major historical actions/means that had led to movements in customer attractiveness. Such a method might be biased towards negative impacts on the level of attractiveness and the relative timing of interviews in relation to when the identified events took place is expected to influence memory of the respondents, and important events affecting supplier satisfaction and customer attractiveness thus might not be included. Regarding research, there are many interesting extensions. We need to understand more fully what types of changes and events may lead to misalignments, and how misalignments can successfully be resolved in a complex inter-organizational setting. Future research might also explore how suppliers and customers develop their ideas on who is an attractive interaction partner. Such research needs to be developed on top of an understanding where researchers look for complex mechanism and dynamics and not for singular generic factors. Another proposition leading from this study are future studies specifically focusing on the longitudinal aspects of how multiple actions arranged in a time series might influence the dynamics of the formation of customer attractiveness in micro-dyadic relationships. Finally, future research is encouraged to expand on the theoretical approach adopted in this paper to include more or different boundary spanning functions as well as to test for consistence in logics of actions across primary- and secondary exchange relationships.