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Network Structure and Business Survival: The Case of U.S. Automobile Component Suppliers

Author

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  • Swaminathan, Anand

    (U of California, Davis)

  • Hoetker, Glenn

    (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

  • Mitchell, Will

    (Duke U)

Abstract

We examine how three aspects of network structure affect supplier performance, focusing on relationship duration, supplier autonomy, and customer status. We examine their impact in different competitive contexts by considering differences in the modular and architectural technological characteristics of the components. Using data on all U.S. automotive carburetor and clutch manufacturers from 1918 to 1942, we find that suppliers of architectural goods (carburetors) benefit from long-term relationships, high status customers, and current autonomy. By contrast, only autonomy affects suppliers of modular goods (clutches). This comparison speaks to the contingent nature of the influence of network structure, with the benefits and constraints deriving largely from the nature of the inter-firm routines firms create to coordinate relationships. Relationships requiring extensive sets of inter-firm routines lead to greater benefits and constraints of network structure, while network structure has more restricted influence on relationships requiring less intensive inter-firm routines.

Suggested Citation

  • Swaminathan, Anand & Hoetker, Glenn & Mitchell, Will, 2002. "Network Structure and Business Survival: The Case of U.S. Automobile Component Suppliers," Working Papers 02-0105, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:illbus:02-0105
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    File URL: http://www.business.illinois.edu/Working_Papers/papers/02-0105.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kirk Monteverde & David J. Teece, 1982. "Supplier Switching Costs and Vertical Integration in the Automobile Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 206-213, Spring.
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    3. Cusumano, Michael A., 1954- & Takeishi, Akira, 1958-., 1991. "Supplier relations and management : a survey of Japanese, Japanese-transplant, and U.S. auto plants," Working papers 3256-91., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    4. Asanuma, Banri, 1989. "Manufacturer-supplier relationships in Japan and the concept of relation-specific skill," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, March.
    5. Podolny, Joel M & Phillips, Damon J, 1996. "The Dynamics of Organizational Status," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 453-471.
    6. Williamson, Oliver E, 1993. "Calculativeness, Trust, and Economic Organization," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 453-486, April.
    7. Helper, Susan, 1991. "Strategy and Irreversibility in Supplier Relations: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 781-824, December.
    8. Eccles, Robert G., 1981. "The quasifirm in the construction industry," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 335-357, December.
    9. Langlois, Richard N. & Robertson, Paul L., 1989. "Explaining Vertical Integration: Lessons from the American Automobile Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(02), pages 361-375, June.
    10. Masten, Scott E, 1984. "The Organization of Production: Evidence from the Aerospace Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 403-417, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lazzarini, Sergio G. & Mesquita, Luiz F. & Claro, Danny P., 2007. "Buyer-Supplier and Supplier-Supplier Alliances: Do They Reinforce or Undermine One Another?," Insper Working Papers wpe_84, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    2. Pedro Campos & Pavel Brazdil & Isabel Mota, 2013. "Comparing Strategies of Collaborative Networks for R&D: An Agent-Based Study," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 42(1), pages 1-22, June.
    3. Sergio G. Lazzarini & Danny P. Claro & Luiz F. Mesquita, 2008. "Buyer-Supplier and Supplier-Supplier Alliances: Do They Reinforce or Undermine One Another?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 561-584, May.

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