نیمه ی تاریک روابط خریدار و فروشنده : چشم انداز سرمایه اجتماعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4247||2011||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 29, Issue 6, September 2011, Pages 561–576
The literature on supply chain management (SCM) has consistently promoted the “bright side” of collaborative buyer–supplier relationships (BSRs). Based on the social capital argument, SCM scholars have investigated how a buyer can gain access to and leverage resources through its collaborative BSRs. Our study extends this research stream by considering the “dark side” of social capital in BSRs. It evaluates how social capital in its cognitive, relational, and structural forms contributes to or impedes value creation within BSRs. Both primary survey measures and secondary objective measures have been used in data analysis. The results show the presence of both the bright side, confirming the existing literature, and the dark side, extending the literature. There is an inverted curvilinear relationship between social capital and performance: Either too little or too much social capital can hurt performance. This study confirms that building social capital in a collaborative BSR positively affects buyer performance, but that if taken to an extreme it can reduce the buyer's ability to be objective and make effective decisions as well as increase the supplier's opportunistic behavior. Our study also examines how a buyer can delay the emergence of the dark side. It opens up new research avenues in the collaborative BSR context and suggests directions for future research and practice.
The literature on supply chain management (SCM) is unequivocal regarding the value of collaborative buyer–supplier relationships (BSRs) (for a review, see Chen and Paulraj, 2004 and Terpend et al., 2008). SCM scholars have studied how building social capital creates value for firms participating in collaborative BSRs1 (Autry and Griffis, 2008, Cousins et al., 2006, Cousins and Menguc, 2006, Krause et al., 2007, Lawson et al., 2008 and Min et al., 2008). These scholars suggest that building social capital between buyers and suppliers allows them to gain access to and leverage resources residing in their relationships. They highlight that social capital reduces the likelihood of conflicts and promotes cooperative behavior because of its association with shared vision, trusting relations, and social ties. Clearly, the SCM literature has hitherto focused on the bright side of social capital. However, further consideration needs to be given to the risks and potential negative consequences associated with social capital, which we shall refer to as the dark side of social capital. Sociologists ( Granovetter, 1985 and Portes and Sensenbrenner, 1993) and strategy scholars ( Adler and Kwon, 2002, Gargiulo and Benassi, 1999 and Uzzi, 1997) have warned us of the presence of the dark side. Considering the dark side of social capital in BSRs has important managerial implications, given that buying firms invest significant resources in building social capital with their suppliers ( Adler and Kwon, 2002 and Autry and Griffis, 2008). Hard-earned social capital may in fact lead to loss of objectivity (Locke, 1999), opportunistic behaviors (Granovetter, 1985), and poor decision making ( Grover et al., 2006 and McFadyen and Cannella, 2004). Therefore, blindly calling for building higher levels of social capital within BSRs can lead to a waste of resources and frustrations (Portes and Landolt, 1996), and the indiscriminate promotion of social capital may actually hurt rather than enhance performance. Our study aims to consider both the bright and the dark sides of collaborative BSRs. Some leading firms may be taking on this perspective. For example, Toyota and Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) have enjoyed their collaborative relationship since 1984 when Toyota first arrived in Georgetown, KY, to produce the all-time best selling Camry sedans (www.johnsoncontrol.com). However, presently, they appear to be re-evaluating their celebrated long-term, collaborative relationship. There have been signs of restructuring in their relationship. Toyota and JCI are phasing out a long-standing partnership at Trim Masters, their joint-venture company (www.autonews.com). With this measure, Toyota seems to be looking for more competition among seat suppliers while JCI seems to be pursuing more autonomy to explore other potential customers and ventures. Both firms seem to be acknowledging the downside of their long-term partnership. Our study aims to investigate the underlying dynamics of such a phenomenon—how a well-established BSR, on the one hand, generates value (the bright side) but, on the other, causes relational inertia (the dark side) that inhibits partners’ capacity to meet changing market demands. We take the SCM literature beyond the bright side of collaborative BSRs by considering the bright side and dark side in a single model. We do so theoretically and empirically by using the concept of social capital. Consistent with previous studies (e.g., Krause et al., 2007 and Lawson et al., 2008), we accept that building social capital within BSRs has a positive impact on buyer performance, at least initially. However, we offer additional theoretical precision to this argument. We posit that the synergies emerging from accumulated social capital are subject to diminishing returns. That is, the value of social capital might begin to decay and the rate of benefits slow down as inherent risks and costs of social capital increase. As a result, we postulate that the accumulation of social capital improves performance up to a point where increasing risks and costs offset the benefits and that beyond this point buyer performance declines. We thus suggest that the relationship between social capital and performance has a curvilinear rather than a linear effect. This curvilinear relationship might also explain why some studies analyzing collaborative mechanisms in BSRs have been unable to show the expected performance gains (Gulati and Sytch, 2007, Petersen et al., 2005 and Swink et al., 2007). Further, previous studies have limited the analysis of social capital to its relational dimension (Cousins et al., 2006 and Johnston et al., 2004), structural dimension (Capaldo, 2007), or a combination of the two (Autry and Griffis, 2008 and Lawson et al., 2008). Very few studies have investigated all three forms of social capital (Nahapiet and Ghoshal, 1998) in a single model, with the notable exception of Krause et al. (2007). The current study jointly examines three forms of social capital—cognitive (e.g., shared culture and goals), relational (e.g., trust, friendship, respect, and reciprocity), and structural (e.g., social ties), thereby addressing the different ways these forms influence performance outcomes. Also, most previous studies have framed the benefits of social capital primarily within a narrow range of operational performance outcomes. However, in reality, buyers attempt to advance a much wider range of performance goals within their BSRs (Krause et al., 2007, Sanders, 2008 and Im and Rai, 2008). Our study thus considers a set of strategic benefits (e.g., the development of new products and markets) in addition to operational performance measures used in previous studies. In doing so, we provide a more comprehensive examination of a buyer's performance gain based on the building of social capital with its collaborative supplier. The paper is organized as follows. We first review the literature on social capital and performance, and then we develop hypotheses based on how the three dimensions of social capital impact performance. The unit of analysis is framed as the buyer–supplier dyad. The research methodology section discusses how objective and subjective data from 132 Spanish firms were collected and analyzed. The results confirm that there is an inverted curvilinear relationship between social capital and performance. The results also show that it takes longer to reach the threshold when buyers and suppliers work together to achieve strategic benefits compared with when they seek operational benefits. Finally, we discuss theoretical and managerial implications and offer future research directions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our study reveals the paradox surrounding social capital. It can improve performance, but it can also hurt performance. Buying companies can build social capital to leverage resources in their BSRs and achieve operational and strategic benefits, but, if overly excessive, social capital can take away those benefits. Our study lends support to previous research that examined the bright side of social capital in the BSRs (e.g., Cousins et al., 2006, Krause et al., 2007 and Lawson et al., 2008), but it also extends this research stream by offering evidence for the dark side. By doing so, we refine the existing SCM literature by suggesting a duality involving social capital—collaboration between supply chain members can become a key mechanism to reduce conflicts and foster teamwork, but, if taken to extreme, it can also inhibit the partnering companies’ capabilities to effectively adapt to changing market needs (Gargiulo and Benassi, 1999). We theoretically and empirically examine the three dimensions of social capital and their relationships with performance. We find that the three forms of social capital have a positive linear relationship to strategic and operational performance improvement (see Model 1 in Table 5 and Table 6). Our results also show that the structural capital and relational capital lead to an inverted curvilinear relationship with buyer performance, providing support for Hypothesis 2 and Hypothesis 3 (see Model 2 in Table 5 and Table 6). This curvilinear relationship suggests the presence of the dark side wherein social capital can become a liability for the buyer. Initially, the promotion of frequent, close social interactions allows the buyer to gain access to valuable resources and exploit synergies created in its BSR. Yet, as additional social capital is accumulated, the risks of opportunism, loss of objectivity, ineffective decision making, and costly investments may begin to outweigh the benefits and, ultimately, jeopardize buyer performance. Our results offer one explanation of why some empirical studies did not find a positive linear relationship between collaboration and performance (Cousins et al., 2006, Gulati and Sytch, 2007, Petersen et al., 2005 and Swink et al., 2007). It also expands on some studies that suspected the potentially negative outcomes from a high level of collaboration in BSRs (Anderson and Jap, 2005 and Das et al., 2006). Interestingly, our Hypothesis 1, addressing a curvilinear relationship between cognitive capital and performance, is not supported (see Model 2 in Table 5 and Table 6). When compared with relational capital and structural capital (i.e., all three linear and quadratic terms were included in the same equation), its quadratic term is shown to be insignificant. In other words, the negative impact of the risk of being too much alike, as argued under the cognitive social capital hypothesis, is not as pronounced in terms of its negative impact when compared with the other two dimensions of social capital. We note that the results instead support a linear relationship as previous research suggests (Krause et al., 2007 and Lechner et al., 2010). One explanation for this result is that, compared with the other two dimensions, cognitive social capital associated with shared vision is much more enduring and sustained. Alternatively, this particular result could be something peculiar to our sample in that participating firms are not characterized by high levels of cognitive social capital with their suppliers. Taking into account descriptive statistics, the mean value of cognitive capital (View the MathML sourceX˙=3.19) is lower than those for relational capital (View the MathML sourceX˙=4.05) and structural capital (View the MathML sourceX˙=3.36). This might indicate that our participating firms have not have achieved high levels of cognitive social capital and, therefore, might not have reached the threshold point. Clearly, this aspect of cognitive social capital warrants further investigation in future studies. Under Hypothesis 4, our study considers an important contingency factor (i.e., type of performance) that might influence the curvilinear relationship. In order to examine this hypothesis, the curvilinear relationship of each social capital dimension needs to be significant across the two types of performance. Among the three dimensions of social capital, only the relational dimension fits this requirement (see Fig. 3). For the other two dimensions, the curvilinear relationship was significant for operational performance but not for strategic performance. We then wondered why the curvilinear relationship was significant for strategic performance only in the case of relational social capital. A potential explanation is that relational social capital is more critical as compared with cognitive or structural social capital when the buyer and supplier pursue strategic benefits. That is, a high level of relational social capital is indispensable when both firms engage in more strategic goals for the relationship. As relational capital is built over time, it allows firms more flexibility to adapt to changes strategically; however, that also means it can make its potential negative effects more pronounced. In the case of relational social capital, then, the results clearly show that it takes longer for strategic benefits to reach the threshold than for operational benefits, as we proposed. Strategic performance, compared with operational performance, requires additional social capital with suppliers to see the expected level of performance benefits because these outcomes involve longer-term issues, additional risk taking, and higher dependence on external forces. This additional social capital makes the rate of attenuation for strategic benefits slower than that for operational benefits. Therefore, the buyers that pursue various goals from their BSRs should be cautioned that they might reach the dark side faster when pursuing operational benefits through relational social capital. We also conducted a post hoc analysis to rule out other possible alternate explanations for why some buyers might linger in the dark side of collaboration. We found that 86% of participating firms have at least one satisfactory supplier and that 50% of these firms have more than three satisfactory suppliers. More than the 90% of the sample firms do not have any equity in the capital of the chosen suppliers. We also found that 35.5% of supplied products were made-to-order, 37.5% were standard products, and 27% a combination of the two. All these results help reject alternate explanations of why buying firms remain in the dark side of collaborative BSRs due to the aforementioned rigidities in this study rather than the lack of alternative suppliers (Gulati and Sytch, 2008 and Poppo et al., 2008), the presence and impact of equity sharing in the relationship (Kale et al., 2000), or the complexity of supplied products (Modi and Mabert, 2007). 6.1. Theoretical implications Our study contributes to the SCM literature in several ways. First, it is one of the few studies that examine both the bright and the dark sides of collaborative BSRs. We bring to the fore the theoretical importance of considering the existence of diminishing returns when investing in social capital in the BSR context. Second, we analyze the three dimensions of social capital in a single model, which has rarely been done in previous studies. All three dimensions of social capital in one model improve our understanding of how each dimension uniquely influences performance outcomes. Our results suggest that the strength of social relations (relational capital) has a higher marginal effect on performance than the frequency and diversity of contacts (structural capital) and that a shared vision (cognitive capital) has a positive linear relationship with performance. Third, we use a complete set of performance measures that allows us to develop a more complete view of how social capital facilitates or impedes value creation. Our results suggest that buyers should expect that when they are working with a collaborative supplier to achieve operational benefits they will reach the point of diminishing return faster than when they are pursuing strategic benefits. This study also contributes to social capital theory by analyzing the dark side of social capital at the inter-organizational level. Scholars in this area have made repeated calls for such a research (Inkpen and Tsang, 2005, Tsai and Ghoshal, 1998, Van Deth and Zmerli, 2010 and Zaheer et al., 2010), but very few empirical efforts have responded to this call. Using the BSR context, our study theorizes the paradox of social capital and provides empirical evidence of a curvilinear relationship between social capital and performance at the inter-organizational level. Its results are consistent with some recent studies analyzing the curvilinear effect of social capital and performance at the individual (McFadyen and Cannella, 2004), group (Lechner et al., 2010), and network (Molina-Morales and Martínez-Fernández, 2009) levels. 6.2. Managerial implications According to researchers (Sytch and Gulati, 2008) and practitioners (Accenture survey, 2010), today's supply chain managers should have a good understanding of how partnering with suppliers helps their firms create value and overcome global challenges. As such recognition for the importance of close BSR increases, we argue that the recognition for its downside should also increase. Managers should be aware of associated risks and costly investments in the building of this type of relationships. As the relationships deepen and pass a threshold point, a buying firm's manager needs to be cognizant of the loss of objectivity and ineffective decision making, supplier's potential opportunistic behavior, and the excessive cost of building high levels of social capital. We suggest that managers need to do more than merely promote social capital within BSRs; they should monitor the relationships with their partnering suppliers to identify whether there might be any signs of counterproductive outcomes, especially when their firm faces competitive markets. Such counterproductive outcomes reside in the dark side of social capital. The question is how a buying firm can best prepare for the dark side. Supply chain managers should know that blindly building a deep supplier relationship is not recommended. That is, they are likely to make a mistake if they ignore or underestimate harmful effects of excessive levels of social capital. As our results suggest, managers should carefully establish the optimal level of relational capital so that it would not move past the threshold point. They also need to find ways to reduce the level of relational capital when they discover they are moving into the dark side. For instance, as discussed earlier in this paper, we believe Toyota has taken steps to do exactly this—as the buying firm, it seems to have re-evaluated its relationship with the supplier JCI and begun restructuring its relationship by bringing in additional players and by taking away JCI's involvement in Trim Master (www.autonews.som). Another important managerial implication pertains to how the buying company may interface the supplier. For instance, consider replacing individual negotiators with a team of negotiators and consider rotating different teams in and out. This type of practice is designed to alleviate the strong attachment and familiarity created by these individuals within the BSR. This practice may also help guard against the power acquired by these negotiators as their firms’ business activities become more dependent on the relationship (Anderson and Jap, 2005 and Kim et al., 2006)—thus ensuring more objectivity. Furthermore, the creation of a team that is responsible for managing a firm's key BSRs might be desirable (Kale and Singh, 2009). This team could constantly monitor market trends and technologies that help identify new competent suppliers and ensure impartiality when working with the existing suppliers. Finally, it is important to note the cultural differences in managing social relations in a business context (Luk et al., 2008, Hofstede, 2001 and Putman, 1993). Business practices in Spain revolve around inter-personal and inter-firm ties that value friendly and close relationships (Harland, 1996). This type of business culture makes relationship building between buyers and suppliers more complex yet significant. However, we could not expect the same to happen in countries where relationships may be more distant, non-friendly, and characterized by more systematized information exchange (Hofstede, 2001). The type of collaborative BSR in Spain might be comparable with practice of guanxi in China ( Cai et al., 2010, Luo, 2000 and Park and Luo, 2001) or of keiretsu in Japan ( Gerlach, 1987 and Dyer and Nobeoka, 2003). The benefits and pitfalls of these styles of managing BSRs have been amply studied in the SCM literature ( Lincoln et al., 1998 and Nishiguchi, 1994, Womack et al., 1991). With the presence of cultural differences in the interpretation of social relations in business, managers should carefully examine the specific mechanisms that may translate a social structure into social capital or social liability (Leenders and Gabbay, 1999). 6.3. Future research directions As the body of SCM literature continues to grow, it will be important to balance many emerging studies focusing on the benefits of collaborative BSRs with other studies that consider the risks of such BSRs. Our study takes the first step in this direction. We believe it offers an exciting new research avenue for analyzing both the bright and the dark sides. Future studies might develop specific measurement scales that capture the dark side of BSRs. Beyond the variables that have been amply studied such as joint problem solving and information sharing, other interesting variables that may be considered in future studies are the loss of objectivity, the ineffectiveness of decision making, and the emergence of opportunism in collaborative BSRs. While focusing on analyzing the complexities in the relationship between the buyer and the supplier, our study overlooks the fact that both firms are embedded within a larger context of social networks (Choi and Kim, 2008). In this sense, the buyer and supplier that belong to a dense network might be less likely to invest in excessive levels of social capital, given that they can take advantage of the social capital of firms involved in the extended network (Rowley et al., 2000). This type of network would make the partners in a dyad less likely to fall prey to the dark side of collaboration. Likewise, the buyer's and supplier's positions in their immediate network can provide advantages or constraints that may affect the value of social capital (Koka and Prescott, 2008 and Burt, 2010). It will certainly be interesting to reconsider the logic used to build our hypotheses given the embedded nature of the buyer–supplier dyads. Our study investigates the direct effects of social capital on performance without paying great attention to the intervening mechanisms of how social capital can impact performance. Future research should consider examining the mediating variables in the social capital–performance relationship. Also, this study analyzes the three forms of social capital and their unique contributions to various performance outcomes. Subsequent research efforts might analyze their inter-relationships and interactions. Given that social relations are dependent upon cultural context (Putman, 1993 and Leenders and Gabbay, 1999), our study's results may not be generalizable beyond the Spanish sample. It will be very interesting to see replications in other countries that can be compared with our results to see whether they would strengthen the validity of the dark side or refute it. Finally, the life cycle of social relations within BSRs could be a fertile area for longitudinal research. One could potentially investigate how a new BSR is born and subsequently develops into a mature relationship that may or may not reach the dark side.