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Enhancing international customer–supplier relationships through IT resources: A study of Taiwanese electronics suppliers


  • Ruey-Jer (Bryan) Jean

    (Department of International Business, National Chengchi University, Taiwan)

  • Rudolf R Sinkovics

    (Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK)

  • S Tamer Cavusgil

    (Institute of International Business, Georgia State University, Atlanta, USA)


The growing popularity of outsourcing and offshore-partnering activities raises the issue of what strategies are appropriate for firms to successfully manage customer–supplier relationships in the international context. Little has been written about how information technology (IT) systems may impact on international exchange relationships. In the present study, we report on how suppliers use IT as a strategic resource to govern their international exchange relationships with multinational enterprise customers. Taking the supplier's perspective, we propose that two types of IT resources – IT advancement and electronic integration – create value for suppliers with respect to innovativeness and market performance. We argue that this value creation process is mediated by three specific forms of governance: cooperativeness, output monitoring, and behavior monitoring. To test these arguments, primary data, obtained from 240 Taiwanese electronics suppliers, are used for hypothesis testing. The survey results provide evidence that suppliers’ IT resources enable them to work effectively with their international key customers. Importantly, of the three governance mechanisms, cooperativeness has the strongest impact on supplier performance, owing to supplier electronic integration. Post-hoc analysis revealed that cultural distance does not play a role in moderating the relationship between IT resources and governance mechanisms in international exchange.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruey-Jer (Bryan) Jean & Rudolf R Sinkovics & S Tamer Cavusgil, 2010. "Enhancing international customer–supplier relationships through IT resources: A study of Taiwanese electronics suppliers," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 41(7), pages 1218-1239, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:41:y:2010:i:7:p:1218-1239

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:manint:v:52:y:2012:i:2:d:10.1007_s11575-012-0138-z is not listed on IDEAS
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    3. Pezderka, Noemi & Sinkovics, Rudolf R., 2011. "A conceptualization of e-risk perceptions and implications for small firm active online internationalization," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 409-422, August.
    4. repec:spr:manint:v:51:y:2011:i:2:d:10.1007_s11575-011-0074-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jean, Ruey Jer “Bryan”, 2014. "What makes export manufacturers pursue functional upgrading in an emerging market? A study of Chinese technology new ventures," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 741-749.
    6. Reuber, A. Rebecca & Fischer, Eileen, 2011. "International entrepreneurship in internet-enabled markets," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 660-679.
    7. repec:spr:manint:v:51:y:2011:i:2:d:10.1007_s11575-011-0068-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Deng, Ziliang & Guo, Honglin & Zhang, Weifu & Wang, Chengqi, 2014. "Innovation and survival of exporters: A contingency perspective," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 396-406.
    9. Ruey-Jer Bryan Jean & Rudolf R. Sinkovics & Daekwan Kim, 2017. "Antecedents and Outcomes of Supplier Innovativeness in International Customer–Supplier Relationships: The Role of Knowledge Distance," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 121-151, February.
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    12. Chang, Kuo-Hsiung & Chen, Yung-ray & Huang, Hsu-Feng, 2015. "Information technology and partnership dynamic capabilities in international subcontracting relationships," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 276-286.
    13. Mathews, Shane & Bianchi, Constanza & Perks, Keith J. & Healy, Marilyn & Wickramasekera, Rumintha, 2016. "Internet marketing capabilities and international market growth," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 820-830.
    14. repec:spr:manint:v:51:y:2011:i:2:d:10.1007_s11575-011-0072-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Johnson, Julius H. & Arya, Bindu & Mirchandani, Dinesh A., 2013. "Global integration strategies of small and medium multinationals: Evidence from Taiwan," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 47-57.
    16. repec:spr:manint:v:51:y:2011:i:2:d:10.1007_s11575-011-0070-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:eee:jbrese:v:76:y:2017:i:c:p:14-23 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Jean, Ruey-Jer “Bryan” & Sinkovics, Rudolf R. & Kim, Daekwan & Lew, Yong Kyu, 2015. "Drivers and performance implications of international key account management capability," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 543-555.
    19. Bianchi, Constanza & Mathews, Shane, 2016. "Internet marketing and export market growth in Chile," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 426-434.

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