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Paper info: Linking Supply Networks and Logistics Service Networks - Towards a Triadic Framework


Linking Supply Networks and Logistics Service Networks - Towards a Triadic Framework


Anna Dubois
Chalmers University of Technology
Anna Dubois ,
Anne Holma
Hanken School of Economics
Anne Holma , Dan Andersson and
Kajsa Hulthén
Chalmers University of Technology
Kajsa Hulthén

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 27th IMP-conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 2011.


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Purpose of the paper and literature addressed: This is a conceptual paper, which draws upon inter-organisational theory and in particular business relationships and industrial networks (see e.g. Håkansson and Snehota, 1995; Gadde et al., 2010). The aim is to develop a theoretical framework for analysis of the links between supply networks and logistics networks. The suggested framework builds on triads consisting of three main types of parties: the buyers and suppliers of goods, conceptually belonging to the supply network, and the logistics service providers that are involved in the logistics service network.
Research findings: The theoretical notion of triads points to the importance of analysing the dyadic relationships and the connections among these dyads involved in the triad. When analysing change in logistics service networks, the focal dyads consisting of buyers and suppliers of goods together with their relationship(s) with the logistics service providers are key to the understanding of how changes in „demand‟ for logistics services are generated. The suggested micro level analysis takes its starting point in that the relationship between the buyer and supplier of goods is connected to the logistics service provider since the substance of their relationships are linked. Change in this setting includes any change in how logistics activities and resources are carried out and activated by the parties involved in the focal triad. These changes also have a potential impact on the roles of all three actors in relation to each other.
An analysis model for this triad is created. The model is based on a modified version of the framework of business relationships developed by Håkansson and Snehota (1995), which is focusing on the relationships‟ substance in terms of activity links, resource ties and actor bonds, and functions for the individual firms, for the relationships and for third parties. Influence on and by „fourth parties‟ in relation to the focal triad have also been included as a modification since the framework is basically dyadic, and we here extend it to capture all relevant dyads in a focal triad.
Main contribution: This paper contributes to the supply chain and logistics service network research in several ways. First, the framework includes indirect relationships in supply chains. Second, it adds a theoretically grounded framework to logistics research, which is generally considered managerial in nature. Finally, with the help of the framework, studies on supply chains (or networks) and logistics service networks can be integrated.
Keywords: triads, business relationships, supply networks, logistics service networks.