Category Archives: Academic Publications

Managing supplier satisfaction: Social capital and resource dependence frameworks


Published in Australasian Marketing Journal and authored by Holger Schiele, Scott. C. Ellis, Michael Eßig, John W. Henke Jr., and Thomas J. Kull

Recently, supplier satisfaction has gained more attention both in practice and in academic research. However, the knowledge accumulation process is still in an embryonic and explorative phase. Likewise, supplier satisfaction measuring in practice may still benefit from an impetus from academia to be more widely used. This paper aims at considerably expanding understanding of supplier satisfaction by proposing to apply a social capital and a resource dependence theory perspective. We expect an abundance of social capital in a relationship to relate positively to supplier satisfaction, whilst power disequilibrium and dependence from the buyer are expected to negatively relate to supplier satisfaction. It is worth highlighting that, according to research rooted in Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model, the perception and acceptance of power differences resulting from a situation of dependency is highly culture specific. We therefore further hypothesise that supplier satisfaction will be moderated by cultural differences and ask researchers to take the cultural dimension into account.

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Leveraging boundary spanning capabilities to encourage supplier investment: A comparative study


Published in Industrial Marketing Management and authored by Chun Zhang, Fang Wu, and John W. Henke Jr.

Despite growing recognition of the importance of boundary spanners at managing inter-organizational relationships, the process by which capabilities residing in boundary spanning individuals are leveraged to encourage partner firm investment remains unclear. In addressing this gap, we find that a boundary spanner’s capabilities in strategic communication and job expertise enhance a customer firm’s communication with a supplier firm, which increases a supplier’s willingness to make future-oriented investment both directly as well as indirectly through increasing customer firm trustworthiness. Data collected from two samples of suppliers in the U.S. and other Western industrialized countries provide empirical support for our propositions. Furthermore, we found that the process of how boundary spanning capabilities influence supplier willingness to invest differs significantly between the two regions in ways that affect managerial decisions on resource allocation.

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Reciprocity between buyer cost sharing and supplier technology sharing


Published in Int. J. Production Economics and authored by Chun Zhang, John W. Henke Jr., and Sridhar Viswanathan

Despite the increasing importance of integrating suppliers into buyer product development activities, the majority of the research on supplier integration focuses on the total cost reduction and benefits to the buyer rather than cost sharing between a buyer and its suppliers. Total cost reduction does not necessarily imply buyers share costs savings with suppliers, especially when buyers have a power advantage over suppliers. Also, little empirical evidence exists on what impact buyer cost-sharing has on supplier technology innovations. This paper examines the reciprocal relationships between buyer cost sharing and supplier willingness to share and invest in new technology using two-year data collected from Tier-1 suppliers in the North American automotive industry. Initial buyer cost sharing was found to stimulate supplier sharing one year later and does so more effectively than supplier involvement in the buyer’s product development activities. Moreover, supplier sharing was found to be reciprocated by the buyers. Furthermore, Japanese OEMs in the North American automotive industry reciprocate supplier sharing with higher levels of cost sharing than do domestic OEMs. The research substantiates buyer cost sharing as an important strategy to generate competitive advantage in managing supplier relations.

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Integrating global and local procurement for superior supplier working relations


Integrating global and local procurement for superior supplier working relations

Globalization is forcing global organizations to focus on processes that will enable them to more effectively and efficiently integrate and coordinate their activities throughout their worldwide organization. as such, global sourcing is becoming a standard practice in many global organizations. Using a dataset of 1455 observations from the suppliers of a North American-based global manufacturer of high technology products, this research evaluates how a global company can utilize a globally integrated procurement organization to achieve global and local sourcing responsiveness and superior supplier working relations. The study found that if a global procurement organization aspires to achieve exceptional supplier working relations, it should be highly integrated across its geographic regions with knowledgeable global and local procurement personnel who effectively communicate with the firm’s suppliers, while working closely together in a coordinated manner to achieve a globally responsive supply chain.

Sengun Yeniyurt, John W. Henke Jr., Erin Cavusgil, “Integrating global and local procurement for superior supplier working relations,” International Business Review  (2012),

The boundary spanning capabilities of purchasing agents in buyer–supplier trust development


The boundary spanning capabilities of purchasing agents in buyer–supplier trust development

This study examines how individual purchasing agents function as boundary spanners with suppliers to influence trust development in themselves and the buying firms that employ them. Building upon boundary theory and supply chain cooperation research, we identify three boundary spanning capabilities of purchasing agents and empirically test how these capabilities shape buyer–supplier trust development. Using two samples of data collected from suppliers in the automotive industry and food industry, we found that a purchasing agent’s effectiveness in strategic communication with suppliers affects a supplier’s trust in the buying firm, while an agent’s professional knowledge and ability to reach compromises with suppliers affect a supplier’s trust in the purchasing agent representing the firm. Trust in the purchasing agent in turn affects trust in the buying firm. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed….

Chun Zhang, Sridhar Viswanathan, John W. Henke Jr., “The boundary spanning capabilities of purchasing agents in buyer–supplier trust development,” Journal of Operations Management 29 (2011) 318–328.