اثرات مشارکت مشتری و تأمین کننده بر مزیت رقابتی: مطالعه تجربی در چین
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 8, November 2010, Pages 1384–1394
The focus of this paper is on the effects of customer and supplier involvement on competitive advantage in the firm. Using the resource-based view and knowledge-based view of the firm, hypotheses are developed concerning customer involvement, supplier involvement, and competitive advantage. Hierarchical multiple regressions are employed to test the hypothesized relationships. The data used was collected from 139 Chinese manufacturing firms across different industries. Each variable except control variables in the model is measured by a number of scale items. Both reliability and validity (content validity, convergent validity, and discriminate validity) are demonstrated. The results of the regression analysis show that (1) customer involvement has positive impact on product quality, delivery reliability, process flexibility, and customer service; and (2) supplier involvement leads to decreased cost. These findings are interpreted in the context of Chinese manufacturing setting and enhance the understanding of the roles of customer and supplier involvement in China's business environment.
Since the mid-1990s, the strategic role of customer and supplier involvement has received considerable attention in academic and business journals as well as in the business practices (Chang et al., 2006, Lundkvist and Yakhlef, 2004, Kaulio, 1998 and Lengnick-Hall, 1996). As firms recognized the importance of customer and supplier involvement to their new product development (NPD) and new service development (NSD), the resource and co-producer role of customer and supplier involvement in the area of competitive advantage has increased in importance as well (Chang et al., 2006 and Nambisan, 2002). In the service economy era, customer and supplier involvement were seen as strategic resources for reaching high quality levels, cost leadership, fast and reliable delivery, sufficient flexibility and satisfactory service. Companies including Chaparral Steel, Dell, and GE have already achieved an improved competitive position through better management of their customer and supplier involvement (Carr and Pearson, 2002, Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2000 and Chase and Garvin, 1989). As for Chinese companies, interest in customer and supplier involvement also increased dramatically on account of gaining and retaining sustainable competitive advantage in the evolving local and global marketplace. Although several studies have examined the effects of customer and supplier involvement on NPD and NSD, our understanding of how customer and supplier involvement impact on competitive advantage is still very limited. This study focuses on the resource-based view (RBV) and knowledge-based view (KBV) in an effort to place the relationships between customer and supplier involvement and competitive advantage in a theoretical context. RBV emphasizes the strategic importance of a firm's resources and capabilities (Carr & Pearson, 2002). Hart (1995) presents a framework to show that procurement, technology, design, production, distribution and service are capabilities of the firm. Further, Hart (1995) refers to Porter (1980) model of competitive advantage. In Porter (1980) model, customers and suppliers are seen as two of the driving forces of competitiveness in a firm. Thus, the model by Hart (1995) indicates that customers and suppliers can be important resources of the firm. Proposed by Grant, 1996 and Grant, 1997, KBV suggests that firms exist as institutions for producing goods and services because they can create conditions under which individual can integrate their specialized knowledge and skills. However, the knowledge required by the products and services supplied is not entirely available from within the firm. Several studies suggest that firm should integrate and utilize the complementary knowledge and skills that customers and suppliers possessed to enhance their competitive advantage (Carr and Pearson, 2002 and Chang et al., 2006). Although both RBV and KBV indicate that customer and supplier involvement could influence competitive advantage, there are few empirical evidences supporting this view. Our study tries to fill this gap by explicitly testing the effects of customer involvement and supplier involvement on different dimensions of competitive advantage. Over the recent years, there is a growing tendency for scholars to investigate these effects in China, whose dynamic competitive environment and countless guanxi networks provide fertile ground for this research topic. With about 10% GDP growth per year for more than two decades, China has become the third largest economy in year 2008 (just after the U.S. and Japan). In addition, manufacturing accounts for more than one-third of the total GDP and contributes 94.54% of the export sales for China (Sun, 2009). Most Fortune 500 companies have built their manufacturing bases in China (Jiang, Baker & Frazier, 2009). China's manufacturing industries are evolving rapidly (the second largest manufacturing country in 2006) and play an important role in global businesses (Sun, 2009). However, Chinese firms also have to face many challenges at the same time, such as shortage of skillful labors, in low-end of industrial chain and low product added value. Moreover, China's new labor law, the appreciation of the RMB, and the global financial storm also bring great pressure to bear on Chinese manufacturing firms. Up to May 2009, 40% of the SMEs have gone bankruptcy in the financial crisis in China (Wang, 2009). In view of such serious situation, acquiring new competitive advantage is more important than any time before for Chinese manufacturing firms. Besides, guanxi has been pervasive for centuries in every aspect of Chinese organizational activities. Modern Chinese society still operates within the realm of business guanxi networks (Tsang, 1998). Due to the existence of guanxi in China's culture, relationships between manufacturer and its customers and suppliers is becoming a matter of concern. Therefore, investigating the effects of customer involvement and supplier involvement on competitive advantage is much more favorable using data collected in China. There are two research questions addressed in this study. First, what is the impact of customer involvement on competitive advantage? Second, what is the impact of supplier involvement on competitive advantage? The answer to these questions will contribute to both theory and practice. Five sections of this paper follow. In the next section, we review the literature on customer involvement, supplier involvement, and competitive advantage. Based on the literature review, research hypotheses are proposed. In Section 3, data collection and questionnaire development are described. The research analyses and results, which include respondent profiles, measurement development and research hypotheses testing results are presented in Section 4. Section 5 discusses the research results and managerial implications. Finally, Section 6 presents the overall conclusions, limitations, and ideas for further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results of this study reveal interesting relationships between customer involvement, supplier involvement and different dimensions of competitive advantage which contribute to both theory and practice. First, this study contributes to external involvement studies through a comprehensive empirical study. While most of previous studies related to external involvement explore the roles of customer and supplier involvement using theory building or case study methods, this study supplements the extant theory (Chang et al., 2006, Lundkvist and Yakhlef, 2004 and Nambisan, 2002). Moreover, this study tests the impact of customer involvement as well as the impact of supplier involvement simultaneously. Second, this study extends and enriches the content of competitive advantage by incorporating customer service. As all competition occurs through service provision, it is important for firms in their attempt to achieve sustainable competitive advantage through service (Lusch et al., 2007). Although many studies have investigated competitive advantage from various aspects, few studies have included service in competitive advantage (Kathuria, 2000 and Ward et al., 1998). Third, this is the first study that explores the relationships between customer and supplier involvement and competitive advantage with a large dataset from China. Dong et al., 2008 and Chang et al., 2006 have pointed out the roles of customer involvement and supplier involvement may be different or changes as the environment or the economic conditions change. This study serves as a useful extension and furtherance of a growing set of external resources applying to manufacturing firms' success in China, and thus provides a timely and insightful contribution for understanding the roles of external involvement in China's business environment. Fourth, this study enriches the KBV and RBV by empirically testing the relationships between two external involvement variables and five competitive advantage variables. Although extant studies have explored many other antecedents of competitive advantage, few studies have tested external involvement as an antecedent of competitive advantage (Kathuria, 2000 and Swink and Nair, 2007). KBV and RBV posit that customer and supplier involvement can enhance manufacturing firms' competitive advantage. However, the theory only suggests a general rule of thumb, not exactly what type of external involvement is needed for what type of competitive advantage. From this perspective, this study empirically contributes to the KBV and RBV in identifying what kind of external involvement is needed for the five dimensions of competitive advantage. Finally, this study contributes to external involvement practices. The findings of the research provide insights into relationships between particular types of involvement and specific dimensions of competitive advantage. Managers who plan to adopt external involvement should carefully consider the types of competitive advantage they are seeking, and make trade-offs between various involvement and competitive advantage relationships. While this study contributes to both literature and practices, there are several limitations that should be addressed for future research. First, a key limitation stems from our reliance on single respondents as sources of dataset. The positions of the respondents, as well as steps carried in data collection and analyses argue against serious effects of bias and common method variance. However, the potential of these threats to validity cannot be completely ruled out. We leave it to future research to further substantiate our findings based on dataset from multiple informants. Second, we focus on respondents' perceptions of their firms' competitive advantage only. We did not assess overall competitive advantage directly. Thus, there may be other competitive benefits from external involvement that we did not address. Future work can attempt to blend in objective data in an effort to validate the findings. Third, while it is important to understand the effects of external involvement on competitive advantage in China, one limitation of this research is its generality as the data are from only one country and the sampled companies were selected under the recommendations of local universities and government. Some of the findings may not be generalizable to other countries or economic environment. Future research may consider test and validate the model in other countries to check the generality of the model and make cross country comparisons. Fourth, this study relied on cross-sectional data to test the conceptual model. Although surveying corporate managers become increasingly challenging and costly, collecting data over time from the participating managers can offer richer implications. Future research may consider validating the findings of this study using a time-series data. Fifth, we included firm size and type of ownership as control variables in this study, other variables such as a firm's external involvement experience and industry experience and business network characteristics could shed light on the relationships between customer and supplier involvement and competitive advantage.