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Paper info: Supply Management: A Capability-based Approach


Supply Management: A Capability-based Approach


Carlos Brito
University of Porto
Carlos Brito and
Catarina Roseira
University of Porto
Catarina Roseira

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 22nd IMP-conference in Milan, Italy in 2006.


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In a conceptual model presented at the 19th IMP Conference, Brito and Roseira (2003) suggested that supplier management should be analysed at three levels: dyadic relationships, supplier portfolios and networks. This model was later used to study two industrial firms’ supplier networks, whose preliminary results revealed consistent differences at each of the three levels (Brito and Roseira 2004). The main purpose of this paper is to present the final conclusions of this comparative study regarding the supplier dyads level and to offer new insights on the links between the goals that industrial firms try to achieve through their supplier relationships and the configurations that those relationships assume. The paper also aims to further the understanding of buyer-supplier relationships as mechanisms of capabilities coordination and development. The research project is mainly grounded on the IMP industrial network approach complemented with insights from the Capabilities Approach. The investigation project revealed that relationships are essential not only as a mean to access and influence suppliers’ resources and competences, but also to perceive their existence and signal their value to the client firm, thus conditioning their subsequent use.