Many managers attempt to develop collaborative alliances with other organizations. Such strategies are difficult to implement: they are as likely to fail as to succeeed. Implementing and managing an alliance is harder than deciding to collaborate. This paper explores the topic empirically through a study of one form of alliance – supply chain partnering. It presents an interaction model of partnering which shows seven contextual factors that shape, and are shaped by, human action. This context can both help and hinder the emergence of co‐operative behaviour. The model is illustrated through a case study of two organizations (customer and supplier) attempting to co‐operate more closely. The case shows how the cultural and other differences between the parties at first caused difficulty. Actions were taken to change aspects of the context to facilitate more co‐operative behaviour. Improving interpersonal relations led to further actions to create more formal mechanisms which would support future co‐operation. These appear to have contributed to the relationship exceeding the initial expectations of the partners. The interaction model illuminates both the content and process of supply chain partnering.
Journal of Management Studies – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 2000
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