The value of upstream recognition of goals in supply chains

Marian Oosterhuis (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Taco van der Vaart (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Eric Molleman (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Publication date: 21 September 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The literature on supply chain management has focused on the benefits of frequent and strategic communication in supply chains. However, it has paid much less attention to the difficulties and conflicts associated with day‐to‐day communications in supply chains. This discrepancy is surprising because operational communications play a crucial role in supply chain management. In this paper, the aim is to investigate when operational, day‐to‐day communications in supply chains become linked with conflicts and how these conflicts can be prevented.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors surveyed respondents from the partner firms of 81 different supply chains. The data from 380 surveys were examined with moderated regression analyses.

Findings

The findings indicate that operational communications are linked with conflicts if upstream parties in supply chains do not recognise the importance that their downstream partners attach to certain performance objectives.

Research limitations/implications

First, the paper goes beyond the benefits of communication and demonstrates that communication in supply chains can also have drawbacks. Moreover, the paper shows how upstream goal recognition helps parties avoid conflicts in their day‐to‐day communications.

Practical implications

The study points to the importance of developing upstream goal recognition in supply chains and provides several suggestions to promote upstream goal recognition.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to supply chain communication research by going beyond the benefits of communication and highlighting the difficulties that can accompany day‐to‐day operational communications. Moreover, it provides an explanation for the conditions under which operational communications are associated with conflict.

Keywords

Citation

Oosterhuis, M., van der Vaart, T. and Molleman, E. (2012), "The value of upstream recognition of goals in supply chains", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 582-595. https://doi.org/10.1108/13598541211269201

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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