Faculty Publications


Operational impact of collaboration and resource specificity: The moderating role of technology context

Document Type



Downstream collaboration, Operational performance, Product complexity, Relational view, Resource Specificity, Technological turbulence

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing





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Purpose - The purpose of this research is to enhance understanding of the sources of relational rents in supply chains and the nature of their relationships with performance. Using the relational view framework and contingency perspective, the study develops a model and hypotheses to understand the nature of the relationships of collaboration and resource specificity with operational performance under technology context contingencies. Design/methodology/approach-Data for testing the hypothesized relationships in the conceptual model were collected through a survey of managers in the Hoover’s database of manufacturing firms. The survey sample included 115 responses from a wide variety of manufacturing forms. Findings-Findings support the conventional wisdom relating collaboration and operational improvements. Notably, technological turbulence has a differential interactive influence on collaboration and resource specificity in predicting operational performance. In the former, the strength of the performance relationship is enhanced, while in the latter, it diminishes. Product complexity enhances the collaboration-operational performance linkage. The results, however, have to be further corroborated by more confirmatory analysis in future research. Research limitations/implications-The research findings are not conclusive but of an exploratory initial evidence, as stepwise regression analysis has its limitations. Additionally, while the study specifically focused on demand-side collaboration aspects, supply chain management envelops upstream and internal collaboration as well. Investigating the performance implications and the interactive dynamics among all three partnerships in the supply chains provides a richer understanding of supply chain partnerships. Besides, more comprehensive insights could be obtained by modeling the interactive effects of other factors in the operating context. Practical implications-Firms derive performance benefits from close collaboration with downstream partners because the operational enhancements from such relationships have customer service implications. Besides, the results provide a framework to managers for understanding the technology context conditions that may be best suited for leveraging collaborative initiatives and idiosyncratic investments in pursuit of operational performance improvements. Originality/value-Much of the evidence on the rent generation capabilities in supply chain partnerships is still anecdotal and extant empirical research lacks adequate explanation. Another critical shortcoming in extant literature is research on the disentangled interactive influence of operating context factors on the supply chain sources of rent (i.e. capabilities)-performance relationships. The study contributes by addressing these issues.

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