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Paper info: Determinants of the dynamics in buyer-supplier relationship quality


Determinants of the dynamics in buyer-supplier relationship quality


Pete Naude
Manchester Business School
United Kingdom
Pete Naude , Paul Smith, Christine Pirkl,
Catherine Sutton-Brady
University of Sydney
Catherine Sutton-Brady and Reza Salenejad

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 34th IMP-conference in Sri Lanka in 2018.


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This paper assesses how relationship quality in high-technology buyer-supplier relationships changes over time, and also identifies the key drivers of such change. The development of relationship quality over time has received scant attention by scholars, and developing our understanding of it is highly relevant for both academics and practitioners. Our paper addresses this question by first reviewing the relevant literature. Based on this literature review, we identify three different potential drivers of changes in relationship quality. Using this model as a basis for our subsequent fieldwork, we then interviewed six senior executives having extensive experience with strategic supplier relationships in high-technology industries in Germany. The empirical data collected from these face-to-face interviews confirms that relationship quality is highly dynamic, without showing a specific development pattern. Determinants for change in relationship quality are predominately internal factors (with regards to daily business behaviour, the achievement of milestones and the strategic importance of the supplier). Network influences, derived from discussing their individual network pictures, are of secondary importance. Finally, environmental conditions (e.g. PESTLE factors) play a less important role and only influence relationship quality indirectly. Drawing on the literature review and empirical results, our paper concludes with a model of the drivers of how to manage relationship quality successfully in long-term, strategic supplier relationships