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Performance impact of supply chain partnership strategy-environment co-alignment

Prashant Srivastava (Department of Marketing, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Karthik N.S. Iyer (Department of Marketing, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA)
Mohammed Y.A. Rawwas (Department of Marketing, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to enhance understanding on supply chain partnership strategy-environment context co-alignment and its relationship with performance. Using the environment-strategy-performance view framework and the supporting relational perspective, the study develops a model and hypotheses to understand how supply chain partnership strategy as a response to co-align with operating context elements may impact operational and overall firm performance. Additionally, the study investigates the interrelationships among partnership strategy elements.


Data for testing the hypothesized relationships in the conceptual model was collected through a survey of managers in the Hoover’s database of US manufacturing firms. The survey sample included 115 responses from a wide variety of manufacturing forms.


Findings support the conventional wisdom relating collaboration to operational and financial performance. While product complexity associates with the “building block” resources, resource complementarity and resource specificity, technological turbulence relates significantly with only resource specificity. Interestingly, competitive intensity associates differentially with the resources – positive with resource specificity and negatively with resource complementarity. The results also reveal mediating influences of resource specificity and collaboration.

Research limitations/implications

The research findings have to be considered in context. The moderate size, wide industry/firm diversity and robust research design notwithstanding, and the cross-firm nature can potentially obscure causal linkages. Besides, more comprehensive insights could be obtained by modeling the co-alignment of strategy with other factors in the operating context such as industry munificence, and market unpredictability.

Practical implications

Firms derive operational and financial performance benefits from close collaboration with partners since the operational enhancements from such relationships have customer service implications. Besides, the synergistic interrelationships among strategic partnership resources and their eventual impact on operational and financial performance is highlighted suggesting that firms develop a proper mix of unique and complementing set of resources and leverage them through collaborative behaviors. Importantly, the results provide a framework for managers to understand the criticality of aligning their resources with contextual elements to realize enhanced operational efficiencies, customer service, and financial benefits.


Much of the evidence on the rent generation capabilities in supply chain partnerships is still anecdotal and extant empirical research lacks adequate explanation. Thus this study offers an initial strategic response framework for an appropriate co-alignment of partnership resources with environmental context factors to realize operational benefits and overall financial performance. The framework answers the critical question: does a supply chain partnership strategy that matches “fit” or co-aligns with its critical operating environment context realize better performance? Additionally, it unravels the interrelationships among strategic partnership resources.



Srivastava, P., Iyer, K.N.S. and Rawwas, M.Y.A. (2017), "Performance impact of supply chain partnership strategy-environment co-alignment", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 37 No. 7, pp. 927-949.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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