مشارکت تامین کننده و عملکرد هزینه: نقش تعدیل کننده سرمایه گذاری خاص و عدم قطعیت محیطی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3622||2013||59 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Production Economics, Available online 15 April 2013
Drawing on the perspective of transaction cost economics (TCE), we explain the operating contexts in which supplier partnership is likely to be an effective strategy to reduce operational costs in the manufacturing industry. We posit that supplier partnership, which falls in the category of hybrid governance, improves the operational cost performance of manufacturers and that its effectiveness is contingent on specific investments. We also posit that environmental uncertainty does not interact with specific investments to strengthen the effectiveness of supplier partnership. We apply structural equation modeling (SEM) to empirically test the model using data from 175 Hong Kong electronics manufacturers. The results show that supplier partnership is positively and significantly related to operational cost performance. We also find that the relationship between supplier partnership and operational cost performance is strengthened by specific investments. More importantly, the results reveal that the relationship between supplier partnership and operational cost performance is not strengthened by: (1) environmental uncertainty and (2) the three-way interaction among supplier partnership, specific investments, and environmental uncertainty. Our findings provide theoretical and practical insights for selecting an appropriate mode of governance structure
As competition intensifies and the business environment is increasingly fast changing, manufacturers are under enormous pressure to enhance their operational performance. In addition to improving internal operations, many manufacturers look externally to seek competitiveness through the development of closer relationships with key suppliers (McCutcheon and Stuart, 2000, Yeung et al., 2012, Li et al., 2012, He et al., 2013 and Ramanathan and Gunasekaran, 2013). Supplier partnership is widely accepted as an effective source of competitiveness among researchers, practitioners and consultants (Carr and Smeltzer, 1999 and Chen et al., 2004). In this study we conceptualize supplier partnership as a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between a buyer and a supplier, which involves the development of commitment and cooperation, and sharing of information between the two parties (Han et al., 2011 and McCutcheon and Stuart, 2000). Previous studies have found that collaborative supplier relationship provides organizations with multiple potential benefits, such as higher quality products, increased flexibility, lower inventory levels, and lower total cost. The direct performance impacts of supplier partnership (Cannon and Homburg, 2001, Li et al., 2006 and Shin et al., 2000) or its elements (e.g., Krause et al., 2007 and Wong et al., 2009) are well documented. However, the operating contexts in which the partnership will operate more effectively are relatively under-investigated (Donaldson, 2001 and Sousa and Voss, 2008). While specific investments (hereafter SI) and environmental uncertainty (hereafter EU) are two critical factors affecting the effectiveness of inter-firm governance structures in the literature of transaction cost economics (TCE), it is not clear whether there two factors always moderate the relationship between supplier partnership and operational cost performance (hereafter OCP) individually and jointly. The popularity of supplier partnership in the past decades has attracted the attention of many researchers. Buyer–supplier collaborative practices are highly effective in improving delivery and quality performance (Shin et al., 2000), cost performance (Cannon and Homburg, 2001), competitive advantage and organizational performance (Cao and Zhang, 2011 and Li et al., 2006). In addition, the direct performance impacts of some key elements of supplier partnerships have been explored by some researchers. Partnership elements such as cooperation, long-term commitment, and information sharing have been found to have direct and positive associations with various performance dimensions (e.g. Krause et al., 2000 and Wang et al., 2011). Nonetheless, empirical findings concerning supplier partnership are not always positive (Robb et al., 2008 and Stuart, 1997). Prior studies have estimated the failure rate of inter-firm partnerships to be around 30–50% (Anderson and Jap, 2005). Burnes and New (1997) concluded that supplier partnership may achieve successful partnering relationship only at the operational level, not at the strategic level. These conflicting findings suggest that the management of supplier partnership should receive greater attention for offering more insights concerning the factors that could moderate the relationship's performance impact (Frazier et al., 2004 and Wong et al., 2011). Specifically, given the strategic importance and the wide spread adoption of supplier partnership in practice, it is important to understand the peculiar situations in which supplier partnership is effective. (Ireland et al., 2002:414) remarked that supplier partnership is “a significant challenge and an under-investigated phenomenon” warranting further study. Although supplier partnership is well documented in other theoretical paradigms such as contingency theory (e.g. Chan et al., 2012, Jayaram et al., 2010 and Wang et al., 2011), social exchange theory (e.g. Devaraj et al., 2012) and resource based view (e.g. Cao and Zhang, 2011 and Yeung et al., 2012), limited investigations have been undertaken in the operations management (OM) literature through the theoretical lens of the TCE (Rindfleisch and Heide, 1997). One possible explanation is that TCE does not articulate clearly the impact on firms' operational performance under different combinations of interactions among supplier partnership, SI and EU. In many cases where TCE predicts one governance structure, e.g. hierarchy, we find other kinds of governance structures, particularly hybrid, are considered more viable in many firms (Powell, 1990). Through this influential theoretical framework (Grover and Malhotra, 2003), we study two moderators, namely, asset specificity (hereafter AS) and EU, with respect to their roles on the performance impact of supplier partnerships rigorously. A moderator could be a qualitative (e.g., sex, race, class) or quantitative (e.g., level of reward) variable that affects the direction and/or strength of the relation between an independent or predictor variable and a dependent or criterion variable (Baron and Kenny, 1986:1174). Moderators are important to study, perhaps even as a requirement that they be studied, in psychological research (Frazier et al., 2004 and Wong et al., 2011). We develop a research model grounded in the literature of supplier partnership and TCE, and take Mathieu et al. (1992) approach to test the model by applying structural equation modeling (SEM) to empirical data collected from a survey of 175 firms in Hong Kong's electronics industry. Specifically, our research objective is to study the relationship between supplier partnership and OCP and the moderating effects of SI and EU on this relationship by answering the following research questions: (1) is there any relationship between supplier partnership and OCP? (2) Does SI strengthen the relationship between supplier partnership and OCP? (3) Does EU strengthen the relationship between supplier partnership and OCP? (4) Does the three-way interaction among supplier partnership, SI, and EU strengthen the relationship between supplier partnership and OCP? This study extends some important work in the OM literature such as Kroes and Ghosh (2010) and Wong et al. (2011) by plugging a gap in the fit between supplier partnership and firm environment. This study makes contributions to both the OM and strategic management literature. First, we provide a nuanced understanding of the peculiar situations in which supplier partnership (or hybrid governance) can be more effective. We contribute to the strategic management literature by offering the plausible reasons for the success and failure in the interaction among firms (e.g., Anderson and Jap, 2005). Second, we offer practical insights to firms on employing supplier partnership to deal with issues relating to an uncertain environment (Bracker, 1980). Third, we contribute to the TCE literature by offering theoretical reasoning and empirical evidence of the moderating roles of SI and EU in the linkage between supplier partnership and firm cost performance. Previous TCE-based studies in the OM literature discuss the possible effects of these factors but offer limited empirical analysis with sufficient statistical power. Clarification of the roles of SI and EU helps understand the means to achieve OCP and facilitate the application of TCE in the OM context. This study underscores SI as an important moderator that decision makers should consider when managing supplier relationship in the real world. Finally, extending the work of Kroes and Ghosh (2010), we believe we are the first researchers to use SEM to test three-way interactions in an OM research context. Of the different TCE-based empirical studies, the analysis of the simultaneous effects of SI and EU as key moderators on the performance impact of supplier partnership is novel. Such an analysis approach can be applied to a wide range of similar empirical studies (Kroes and Ghosh, 2010). We also extend the work of Wong et al. (2011) through the consideration of the potential interactions and combined performance impacts among different factors. The rest of the paper is organized as follows: in Section 2 we provide the research background, review the literature, and develop the research hypotheses. In Section 3 we introduce the research methodology, describe the data collection method, and discuss the development of the measurement scales. Then we present an analysis of the results in Section 4. In Section 5 we discuss the research findings and their implications, conclude the paper, and suggest topics for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Drawing on TCE, we use SEM fed with data from 175 electronics manufacturers in Hong Kong to analyze the relationships between supplier partnership and OCP, and test whether this relationship will be moderated by SI, EU, and their interaction terms individually and jointly. The observed R2 values for the nine models were between 0.24 and 0.42, which is consistent with the range of R2 values (0.19–0.54) that have reported in the literature for the relationship between supplier partnership and operational performance (e.g. Wong et al., 2011). The standardized residuals exhibits a near normal distribution, and in addition, the Sattora and Bentler (1988) robust fit statistics are very similar to the ML fit statistics (χ2χ2(48, N=175)=157, χ2/df=3.27, NNFI=0.97, CFI=0.97, and RMSEA=0.11. Taken together, despite the inclusion of non-normal interaction terms in the model, multivariate non-normality is not a concern to affect the robustness of this SEM analysis (Kroes and Ghosh, 2010). Our study extends the OM literature (e.g. Kroes and Ghosh, 2010 and Wong et al., 2011) and provides compelling empirical evidence that the degree of SI moderate the alignment of governance structure while EU does not. Without SI, there would be no assets at risk and therefore in need of protection from opportunism, no matter whether the EU is low or high. SI brings about partner cooperation and commitment irrespective of EU. With the support of information sharing, partners are better prepared to overcome unforeseen, exogenous disturbance, and behavioral uncertainty. SI enhances the relational ties, which is neglected in the traditional TCE literature, between the partners (Blomqvist et al., 2002). This finding agrees with prior studies (e.g., Wei et al., 2012). (Song et al., 2005:262) even found that if the whole industry faces rapid technological changes, the importance of close relationships with other supply chain members will decrease. “The recent trend towards partnerships may actually be only a reaction against too centralized (integrated) and too planned hierarchies, which cannot cope with radical uncertainty when facing turbulent time”. 5.1. Theoretical implications (Williamson, 1992:349) states that TCE needs to be refined and extended. It needs to be qualified and focused. It needs to be tested empirically. This study focuses on and contributes to the TCE literature by providing empirical evidence on the mechanisms of how SI and EU moderate the relationship between supplier partnership and OCP both individually and jointly. Our findings bear three theoretical implications. First, the traditional TCE literature that proposes that different modes of governance mechanism (i.e., market, hybrid, and hierarchy) can be equally effective in lowering costs, provided that they are aligned with the situations of the transactions is supported. Our findings suggest more specifically that supplier partnership could be superior to the other two forms of governance (i.e., market and hierarchy) by enhancing the OCP of firms in different environments when substantial SI has been made. Second, SI has a negative impact on OCP. This finding is also consistent with traditional TCE because Klein et al. (1978) and Williamson (1991) argue that SI increases the transaction costs of all forms of governance. Overall, this finding ascertains the validity of traditional TCE's predictions that supplier partnership is used to safeguard SI from supplier opportunism (Dyer, 1997). Asset specificity increases transaction costs regardless of governance type and this is a sufficient condition for dependence that entails a risk of ‘hold-up’ (Vivek et al., 2008:182). SI in effort, human, and dedicated financial resources make existing assets more productive. Thus, a greater emphasis should be placed on SI, echoing the views of Klein et al. (1978) . Third, EU does not have a significant impact on the effectiveness of supplier partnership in enhancing OCP. The detailed reviews of TCE-related empirical studies conducted by David and Han (2004), and Rindfleisch and Heide (1997) consistently point out that the predictability of traditional TCE about the role of EU in firms' choices of governance mechanisms is not convincing. Nevertheless, the result should be interpreted with caution. Different sources or measures of EU may have varying effects on the efficacy of different governance mechanisms in lowering transaction costs (Sutcliffe and Zaheer, 1998). Fourth, the insignificant three-way (or triple) interaction shows that the supplier partnership—SI two-way interaction is not strengthened at increasing levels of EU. Therefore, levels of SI can affect governance structure individually regardless of levels of EU (Dyer, 1997; Vivek et al., 2008). We develop a theoretical model of the effects of the interactions among supplier partnership, SI, and EU on cost performance, and first use SEM to test two moderators simultaneously and rigorously. This study clarifies previous ambiguity arising from using hierarchical regression methods, which create artificial groups. It lays the foundation for future OM quantitative studies on moderation from a new perspective. 5.2. Managerial implications Electronics firms are perceived as critical customers for suppliers due to the volume of sales and their commitments in developing supplier relationships. Our findings also bear several managerial implications. First, supplier partnership is an effective strategy to reduce operational costs in the manufacturing industry with high SI. Based on the findings, long-term commitment, close cooperation, and timely information sharing can provide considerable benefits to rational decision making (Bendoly and Swink, 2007), which in turn, decreases the adversarial impact of bounded rationality (Williamson, 1975) and contributes to a firm's success (Anderson and Jap, 2005, Burnes and New, 1997 and Ireland et al., 2002). Thus, partners are regarded as protectors to safeguard SI and as informants to facilitate adaptation (Williamson, 1975). Second, SI should be minimized in supplier relationships to avoid being “locked-in” (Klein et al., 1978). After SI are made and such quasi rents are created, the possibility of opportunistic behavior is very real (Klein, 1978:298). In Hong Kong's electronics industry, it is costly to develop tailor-made operating processes. Managers should focus on practices that induce no or a low level of SI. However, if SI are inevitable, managers should remember two things: (1) adopt supplier partnership because their interactions alleviate the negative effects of SI on OCP and safeguard against opportunism, and (2) co-align SI, such as financial and human resources, procedural and operating processes, and opportunities and constraints in the environment. This can make existing assets more productive and cost effective. Third, EU is relatively less important than SI in moderating the supplier partnership—OCP relationship and thereby the choice of governance structure. Nonetheless, managers have to be aware that EU is a complicated construct, which could have different sources (Sutcliffe and Zaheer, 1998) and multiple dimensions (Balakrishnan and Wernerfelt, 1986). Therefore, rather than ignore the impact of EU completely, managers of electronics manufacturing firms should carefully examine the sources and the dimensions of their respective environments and consider whether changes in their environments would result in adaptation problems as suggested by TCE and, in turn, whether supplier partnership is suitable for alleviating those problems.