Managing the supply chain using in‐store supplier employed merchandisers

Caroline Emberson (OU Business School, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
John Storey (OU Business School, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
Janet Godsell (Cranfield School of Management, University of Cranfield, Cranfield, UK)
Alan Harrison (Cranfield School of Management, University of Cranfield, Cranfield, UK)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Publication date: 1 June 2006



This paper aims to investigate the managerial challenges arising from the deployment of cross‐company boundary‐spanning teams to improve on‐shelf availability.


The study focuses on two supplier‐employed teams, each merchandising their employers' timber‐products within the stores of two leading UK DIY retail groups. Non‐participant observation and self‐administered questionnaires were used to investigate, first, the association between reported merchandiser job satisfaction and various theoretical predictors (role ambiguity, role conflict, perceived organisational support and recognition) and, second, differences in role perceptions between the two teams and their (retail store) customer representatives.


The study reveals differentiated perceptions of merchandising management practice within the UK DIY retail sector. Whilst perceived organisational recognition was found to be positively associated with merchandiser job satisfaction, there was a significant difference in the perception of organisational support reported by members of the two merchandising teams.

Research limitations/implications

The small number of merchandisers within each team limits more complex statistical analyses and the identification of potential interaction effects of other variables: notably retail store size and format.

Practical implications

The findings from these cases suggest that practitioners need to attend to the behavioural aspects of boundary‐spanning, inter‐organisational supply chain activities, such as the deployment of supplier‐employed, in‐store merchandising teams, if these practices are to be effective.


The behavioural aspects of inter‐organisational supply chain practice have received little research attention to date, despite their acknowledged importance. This paper starts to redress this imbalance.



Emberson, C., Storey, J., Godsell, J. and Harrison, A. (2006), "Managing the supply chain using in‐store supplier employed merchandisers", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 467-481.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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