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RFID and buyer‐seller relationships in the retail supply chain

Harold Boeck (Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada and ePoly, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Samuel Fosso Wamba (ePoly, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montreal, Canada)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 9 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to understand why a collaborative innovation, such as radio‐frequency identification (RFID) technology, engenders seemingly opposite buyer‐seller relationship reactions among members of a supply chain.

Design/methodology/approach

The researchers carried out a three year exploratory multiple case study using the grounded theory approach through participant‐observation and collaborative action research. The research project culminated in a fully functional RFID proof of concept solution which involved multiple layers of a retail supply chain. The researchers chose the retail industry for the study because it provided the ideal conditions to answer the research question.

Findings

The results highlight the role of supplier‐buyer relationships as both crucial antecedents that shape RFID infrastructure and the consequence of RFID implementation. Specifically, the impact on and of eight key dimensions was considered, namely communication and information sharing, cooperation, trust, commitment, relationship value, power imbalance and interdependence, adaptation, and conflict. The paper also positions open‐loop RFID projects as supply chain inter‐organizational systems and presents a model to analyze such initiatives.

Research limitations/implications

The choice of methodology has provided the insight necessary to answer the research question. Other researchers are encouraged to validate these findings through replication with other case studies or through quantitative data to reach analytical and statistical generalizability. The authors also encourage future research on this topic in other industries.

Originality/value

As more supply chains move forward with collaborative RFID initiatives, it is important that these companies be aware of the strategic role of supplier‐buyer relationships as both crucial antecedents that shape RFID infrastructure and a consequence of RFID implementation.

Keywords

Citation

Boeck, H. and Fosso Wamba, S. (2008), "RFID and buyer‐seller relationships in the retail supply chain", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 36 No. 6, pp. 433-460. https://doi.org/10.1108/09590550810873929

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited