Developing social capital in buyer–supplier relationships: The contingent effect of relationship-specific adaptations
Strategic buyer–supplier relationships are increasingly viewed in both the scholarly and practitioner literatures as key drivers of sustainable competitive advantage. In particular, relationship specific adaptations – the extent to which exchange members make tangible or intangible adaptations for a partner – are acknowledged as one of the central issues. Such adaptations need to be examined in context, taking into consideration the social ties that connect a firm and its suppliers. Using the lens of social capital, we examine the contingent effect of buyer and supplier relationship adaptations, and structural and cognitive capital on the development of relational capital. A sample of 163 buyer–supplier relationships within UK manufacturing firms is used to test a series of three-way moderated regressions. The data indicate that the relationship between structural and cognitive forms of social capital and the level of relational capital is moderated by the extent of the relationship adaptations made by each firm and its supplier. Contrary to expectations, the relationship between cognitive capital and relational capital was significantly negative when high levels of buyer adaptations and supplier adaptations were present, indicating a substitution effect between cognitive capital and relationship adaptations. Structural capital was found to be most strongly related to relational capital when adaptations were reciprocated by both actors. However, unilateral adaptations by either actor resulted in significantly lower levels of relational capital as structural capital increased. Implications for theory and managers are discussed, relating to the impact of different combinations of relationship-specific adaptations on social capital components in a buyer–supplier relationship.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Siguaw, Judy A. & Baker, Thomas L. & Simpson, Penny M., 2003. "Preliminary evidence on the composition of relational exchange and its outcomes: the distributor perspective," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 311-322, April.
- Jeffrey H Dyer & Wujin Chu, 2000. "The Determinants of Trust in Supplier-Automaker Relationships in the U.S., Japan and Korea," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 31(2), pages 259-285, June.
- Sambasivan, Murali & Siew-Phaik, Loke & Abidin Mohamed, Zainal & Choy Leong, Yee, 2013. "Factors influencing strategic alliance outcomes in a manufacturing supply chain: Role of alliance motives, interdependence, asset specificity and relational capital," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(1), pages 339-351.
- Mukherji, Ananda & Francis, John D., 2008. "Mutual adaptation in buyer-supplier relationships," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 154-161, February.
- Laura Poppo & Kevin Zheng Zhou & Todd R. Zenger, 2008. "Examining the Conditional Limits of Relational Governance: Specialized Assets, Performance Ambiguity, and Long-Standing Ties," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(7), pages 1195-1216, November.
- Yadong Luo & Yi Liu & Jiaqi Xue, 2009. "Relationship Investment and Channel Performance: An Analysis of Mediating Forces," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(7), pages 1113-1137, November.
- Sako, Mari & Helper, Susan, 1998. "Determinants of trust in supplier relations: Evidence from the automotive industry in Japan and the United States," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 387-417, March.
- Heide, Jan B. & Stump, Rodney L., 1995. "Performance implications of buyer-supplier relationships in industrial markets : A transaction cost explanation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 57-66, January.
- Hwang, Peter, 2006. "Asset specificity and the fear of exploitation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 423-438, July.
- Buvik, Arnt & Grønhaug, Kjell, 2000. "Inter-firm dependence, environmental uncertainty and vertical co-ordination in industrial buyer-seller relationships," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 445-454, August.
- Williamson, Oliver E, 1983. "Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 519-40, September.
- Narasimhan, Ram & Nair, Anand, 2005. "The antecedent role of quality, information sharing and supply chain proximity on strategic alliance formation and performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 301-313, June.
- Johanson, Jan & Mattsson, Lars-Gunnar, 1987. "Interorganizational relations in industrial systems : a network approach compared with the transaction cost approach," Working Papers 1987:7, Uppsala University, Department of Business Studies.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:151:y:2014:i:c:p:89-99. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.