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Paper info: Towards a More Substantial Examination of Supplier-Customer Relationship Performance


Towards a More Substantial Examination of Supplier-Customer Relationship Performance


Bonnie Dawson
University of Western Sydney
Bonnie Dawson ,
Ian Wilkinson
University of Sydney
Ian Wilkinson , John Murray and
Louise Young
University of Western Sydney
Louise Young

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 25th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2009.


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There is a need to systematically consider the factors associated with enhanced relationship performance in a range of organization types and country contexts. This is often neglected as much past survey work considers a limited number of drivers (in an attempt to fit a path model to the data and/or due to limitations in the data capture). Case study work in part addresses a broader range of drivers but the analysis of relationship performance is often embedded within individual cases and is not systematically addressed. There is also the assumption that performance inevitably arises from relationship attributes, rather than the relationship being two-way.An additional issue is the assumption that factors associated with different levels of performance can be generalised across relationship contexts, i.e. that the same factors drive performance irrespective of the nature of the organization and/or the geographic location of the relationship. This paper addresses these limitations as it considers the relatively specific context of Chinese supplier relationships with their international export customers with data collected throughout China using the IMP2 instrument.A range of organization and individual level factors suggested by previous work to be associated with supplier-customer relationship performance are assessed. The impact of contextual competitive conditions and indirect supplier and government relationships on supplier-customer relationship performance are also considered. In particular there is a focus on factors associated with profitability within IJV customer relationships as distinct from Chinese government owned supplier export linkages.Correlation analysis is used to identify variables which are significantly associated with performance without assumption as to causation.Findings indicate that there is a somewhat different pattern of results for Chinese government owned suppliers than there is for IJV suppliers. For example, Chinese government-owned supplier-customer relationship performance is significantly influenced by the importance of ongoing personal, friendship and hierarchical contacts while IJV supplier-customer relationship performance is significantly related to proactivity and relationship development. Overall these findings contribute to a greater understanding of the complexity of factors which drive IJVs and Chinese government owned supplier-customer relationship performance and demonstrate the value of comparing different relationship forms