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Multi-principal collaboration and supplier’s compliance with codes-of-conduct

Emanuela Delbufalo (Faculty of Economics, European University of Rome, Rome, Italy)
Marko Bastl (Department of Management, College of Business Administration, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 18 June 2018

Issue publication date: 26 October 2018




The purpose of this paper is to articulate propositions on how collaborating multi-national corporations (MNCs) can manage their supplier base in order to reduce the risk of suppliers’ non-compliance with shared codes-of-conduct.


The study utilises a conceptual theory development approach. In doing so, it utilises key tenets of agency theory that are applied in a multi-principal–supplier relationship context and synthesised in a series of propositions.


The study shows that MNCs have a variety of mechanisms for reducing the risk of suppliers’ non-compliance by decreasing information asymmetry, increasing their bargaining power and simultaneously use of both rewards/sanctions, and reputation-based safeguards.

Research limitations/implications

This is a conceptual theory development study, offering testable propositions, which have then to be empirically validated.

Practical implications

The study showcases that managers of MNCs who find themselves in relationships with non-compliant suppliers have at their disposal a variety of mechanisms to reduce the risk of suppliers’ non-compliance.


This is one of the first studies that explore suppliers’ non-compliance with codes-of-conduct at the level of a relationship, rather than a single firm. In this way it proposes a theoretical framework grounded in agency theory on managing relationships between multi-principal collaborators and their suppliers.



Delbufalo, E. and Bastl, M. (2018), "Multi-principal collaboration and supplier’s compliance with codes-of-conduct", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 1237-1254.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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