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Exploring relational aspects of time‐based competition

Rodney Thomas (Department of Marketing and Logistics, Stokely Management Center, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 8 August 2008




The purpose of this paper is to begin to explore the phenomenon of time pressure in supply chain relationships.


Using grounded theory methodology, qualitative data were accumulated from experienced supply chain managers. Depth interviews were utilized in order to gain a deeper understanding of time pressure in supply chain relationships.


Analysis of the qualitative data suggests that time pressure can exist in a supply chain relationship and potentially impact the relationship. This qualitative evidence implies that time pressure may create tension, reduce collaboration, or alter expectations in supply chain relationships.

Research limitations/implications

This research provides a greater understanding of the potential effects of time pressure in relationships which provides insight into relational dynamics and characteristics. These initial qualitative findings can inform and prompt quantitative testing of the effects of time pressure in relationships. By demonstrating that time pressure can exist in supply chains and impact interfirm relationships, new streams of research can develop.

Practical implications

This research begins to provide managers with information about potential consequences of imposing time pressure on other supply chain members. Such information can be used to make more informed decisions about relationship management.


Interfirm relationships are the foundation of supply chain management and supply chains frequently focus on time‐based performance. However, the interfirm relationship literature does not address relationships in an environment with an intense pressure to focus on time. Although the detrimental effects of time pressure have been studied in other business contexts, research is lacking in the interfirm relationship literature. This research begins to address this gap in the literature.



Thomas, R. (2008), "Exploring relational aspects of time‐based competition", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 38 No. 7, pp. 540-550.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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