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Managing strategic business relationships in retail operations: evidence from China

Wantao Yu (Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia, London, UK)
Ramakrishnan Ramanathan (Department of Business Systems, University of Bedfordshire Business School, Luton, UK)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Article publication date: 15 June 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how to manage business relationships in retail operations. In particular, this study examines the links between business relationships with principal stakeholders, operations strategy, and performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing upon the stakeholder theory, this study employs a path analytic framework to understand the effects of business relationships on retail operations strategy and performance for a sample of retail companies in China.

Findings

The findings indicate that good relationships with customer and supplier could enable retailers to be more efficient in developing quality and flexible strategies, and that low cost and flexible strategies, in turn, influence business performance. However, the results suggest that the vital role that the Chinese government played in economic activities in the 1980s and 1990s has diminished gradually. It is appropriate to treat the good relationship with government bodies as a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for retail success in China.

Originality/value

This study seems to be the first in investigating the effects of business relationships on operations strategy and performance applying a stakeholder theory perspective.

Keywords

Citation

Yu, W. and Ramanathan, R. (2012), "Managing strategic business relationships in retail operations: evidence from China", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 372-393. https://doi.org/10.1108/13555851211237876

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited