Developing relationship management strategies in a network context
Rezaei Vandchali, H and Cahoon, S and Chen, S-L, Developing relationship management strategies in a network context, Journal of Administrative and Business Studies, 5, (3) pp. 179-192. ISSN 2414-309X (2019) [Refereed Article]
In todayís turbulent business environment, firms are becoming increasingly interdependent and are no longer expected to compete simply as an isolated business entity. The firmís boundaries continue to extend as they out- source to reach out to one anotherís resources across the Supply Chain (SC). The SCs have often been considered as a series of independent organizations which are connected through dyadic ties, often conceptualized as a sim- ple linear system. Although this linear perception of dyadic interactions is worthy of investigation, it does not represent the realities of todayís complex SCs. A firm is a part of the overall network, and its business strategies depend on its embeddedness in the network structure and how it interacts with other participants. Accordingly, in analyzing the firmsí business environment, firms should not be considered in isolation but as being embedded in the network context. As a result, to effectively implement strategies, firms need to address issues in their Supply Chain Network (SCN) and develop effective relationships with different SCN actors to gain necessary resources that are not possessed by themselves. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate and analyze the cur- rent Relationship Management Strategies (RMS) that firms apply to govern the whole SCN. The paper conducts a comprehensive review of Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) and SCN literature to explore how firms de- velop relationships with various actors with the SCN. The findings reveal that the linear perspective is not enough to truly understand the SC and emphasize that firms need to consider a network perspective to analyze their SC, which paves the way to shift from the SC towards an SCN context. By providing the main distinctions between an SCN and an SC, this paper also clarifies the actorís characteristics of the SCN and enhances the understanding of the SCN actor. It furthermore identifies different existing RMS models that firms apply to manage their SCN, synthesizing knowledge involving the RMS and SCN. Finally, by outlining further research directions this paper alerts researchers, for example, to investigate RMS in the network context while considering various contingency variables in their future research.