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