Purpose – Over the last decades, horizontal cooperations between logistics service providers (LSPs) have become a well-established organizational form and their use is expected to grow even further in the future. In spite of this increasing importance of horizontal LSP cooperations, little research has been done to reveal how to govern these relationships successfully. Particularly, the role of contractual governance and its interplay with operational governance mechanisms remain to be investigated. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – This research analyzes the influence of contractual governance on the effectiveness of two types of operational governance (a formal and a relational type). It relates contractual governance and operational governance to two major outcome dimensions of horizontal cooperations between LSPs (cooperation-based firm performance and cooperation-based learning) and uses multivariate statistical methods. Findings – The results reveal that contractual safeguarding is able to partly replace process formalization when aiming for better cooperation-based firm performance and complement process formalization when aiming for cooperation-based learning. At the same time, relational capital is always complemented by contractual safeguarding independently from the desired cooperation outcome. Originality/value – This is the first study analyzing the role of contractual safeguarding in horizontal cooperations between LSPs. It shows its interplay with operational governance mechanisms, and, thereby, not only considers a relational type of operational governance, but also a formal type.
The International Journal of Logistics Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 10, 2015