Business relationship alignment: on the commensurability of value capture and mutuality in buyer and supplier exchange

Andrew Cox (Andrew Cox is Director, CBSP, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Publication date: 1 December 2004

Abstract

This paper argues that supply chain management sourcing strategies are unlikely to be implemented successfully by many organisations because of a lack of internal buy‐in and non‐conducive external power regime structures. Furthermore, the paper contends that many of those arguing the case for “win‐win” outcomes from buyer and supplier relationship management fail to properly define or conceptualise what the concept of mutuality means. The paper contends that mutuality and the search for value capture (profitability) are not fully commensurable in business relationships, but that, since “win‐win” is not an absolute but a variable concept, business relationships can be aligned even when unequal exchange and tension exists between buyers and suppliers. The paper also demonstrates that under some circumstances “win‐lose” can be a preferable outcome than “win‐win” for buyers and suppliers managing business relationships.

Keywords

Citation

Cox, A. (2004), "Business relationship alignment: on the commensurability of value capture and mutuality in buyer and supplier exchange", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 9 No. 5, pp. 410-420. https://doi.org/10.1108/13598540410560793

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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