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Organizations frequently rely on the support of external parties to access necessary resources. In many cases, the resulting buyer-supplier relationships last for decades; some might even become indispensable for one or both parties in achieving its desired business goals. These dependencies between organizations are ubiquitous. This book focuses on such instances, discussing them in a cumulative manner: It begins with an introduction of previous research on the issue, before empirically explaining the emergence of dependencies, their different forms of existence and management approaches as well as its development over time.
This book is of special interest for scholars focusing on dyadic partnerships within the domains of industrial marketing, supply chain management or strategic purchasing. Practitioners involved in managing long term buyer-supplier relationships in goods- as well as service-oriented industries might find it insightful as well.



Chapter 1. Introduction

When Hassan, the chef of the new Indian restaurant Maison Mumbai, visits the local market one morning, he finds none of the products he needs on the stalls. In order to hamper Hassan, her new competitor, Madame Mallory, owner of a Michelin-starred restaurant, also went to the market to deliberately buy the entire stock of fish, vegetables and ingredients of superior quality. Hassan, who is just preparing for Maison Mumbai’s grand opening night, is under pressure to get hold of the ingredients he still needs.
Tobias Mandt

Chapter 2. Dependence in Buyer-Supplier Relationships – Present State and Future Perspectives

Purpose: Buyer-supplier relationships are characterized by dependence between the partners. Although dependence is considered to be a crucial factor in long-term dyadic relations, research on buyer-supplier dependence (BSD) appears to be isolated and scattered across different research domains and across single findings within the domain.
Design/methodology/approach: This paper conducts a systematic review of the literature to integrate these contributions into a coherent framework as a basis for future studies.
Findings: The present state of BSD research can be divided into the sub-areas of dependence sources, forms, effects, and mediating influences as well as the actor’s perceptions and management measures. These categories present a comprehensive overview on the field and serve as a basis to suggest selected research areas for future studies.
Originality/value: Prior overviews on BSD are limited to minor areas of the domain by focusing on single issues and selected actor perspectives, thus neglecting major findings and interrelations between them. This systematic review tries to depict the entire scope of the domain by interlinking and structuring distinct sub-areas to serve as an orientation framework for future studies.
Paper type: Literature review.
Tobias Mandt

Chapter 3. The Emergence of Dependence and Lock-in Effects in Buyer–Supplier Relationships – A Buyer Perspective

The industrial marketing literature frequently points to dependence in buyer–supplier relationships (BSRs) as an essential construct in understanding the development of strong, long-lasting partnerships. Although the antecedents of dependence have been discussed, extant research lacks an understanding of the explanatory mechanisms of how dependence – or even lock-in situations – actually evolve. In this article, we examine the emergence of these aspects in BSRs by analyzing the example of a logistics outsourcing relationship. Using a grounded theory approach in a real-life case involving a German mechanical engineering company and its service provider, we identify four interrelated mechanisms (convincing, tying, complementing and lock-in) that explain dependence and lock-in from a buyer’s perspective. Based on our empirical findings, we develop a conceptual model that points to the theoretical importance of the interconnected influences and sub-processes between transactional, mental, and operative bonding effects. Our results inform managerial practice on how to plan and manage BSRs. The model enhances existing research on dependence in BSRs and can serve as a starting point for further investigations into buyersupplier dependence (BSD) and lock-in in dyadic business relationships.
Tobias Mandt

Chapter 4. Managing Distinct Buyer–Supplier Dependencies – A Typological Differentiation

Dependence is considered to be a key relational construct in buyer–supplier relationships. Existing research has highlighted its impact on dyads and suggested strategic recommendations regarding how to cope with buyer–supplier dependencies (BSD). However, these recommendations seem to be contradictory, as some scholars recommend dependence avoidance while others promote its strategic value for the partners involved. The present paper argues that the decision on which strategic measure is the best choice in individual dependence situations depends on the specific type of BSD. The paper builds on resource-dependence theory (RDT) and the relational view (RV) to discuss four groups of dependence management strategies and their fit to eight characteristic forms of BSD, which are derived in detail. Afterwards, strategies are allocated to specific dependence forms. Thereby, this conceptual study contributes in two areas: it incorporates RDT and RV into the discussion on BSRs, and it also suggests a comprehensive typology of dependence situations, which serves as a basis for future research in the domain. Finally, the paper proposes an organized picture of dependence management strategies for practitioners.
Tobias Mandt

Chapter 5. Phases and Drivers of Buyer-Supplier Dependence - Developmental Insights of a Logistics-Service Relationship in Textile Retailing

Purpose: Buyer-supplier relationships (BSRs) are composed of basic relational constructs and considered to evolve over time. Although BSR research has resulted in seminal relationship development models, the extant research has neglected the examination of dependence as a key relational construct over time. This is surprising, as dependence is inherently dynamic and frequently regarded as evolving out of mutual exchanges and adaptations. In line with this statement, Caniëls and Roeleveld (2009: 415) particularly call for an investigation into “the relation between dependence, ongoing relationships and time”. Thus, the extant research needs to be complemented by a long-term view and dynamic perspective on BSDs in order to shed light on its development and effects over time. It is the aim of this paper to make a first attempt at creating a phase model for dependence development and to identify the underlying triggers that shape its progression.
Methodology: In order to detect how and why dependence develops, a qualitative empirical case study is conducted to investigate a third-party logistics relationship (3PLR) in the German textile industry.
Findings: A five-stage development path of BSD and drivers of individual phase transitions are presented. Furthermore, a sequential model for dependence dynamics contributes to the existing research. This serves as the basis from which to suggest avenues for future research, as well as highlight managerial implications regarding the long-term management of BSRs.
Tobias Mandt

Chapter 6. Conclusion & Outlook

BSD is a prevailing topic for both academics and practitioners. Its relevance is mirrored in the uninterrupted high number of publications in the last decades. Besides, managers who are active in BSRs as a supplier or a buyer report on the actuality and meaning of this issue in their daily activities.
Tobias Mandt
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