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The impact of digitalization and inter-organizational technological activities on supplier opportunism: the moderating role of relational ties

Lu Yang (School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)
Baofeng Huo (College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)
Min Tian (School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)
Zhaojun Han (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 27 July 2021

Issue publication date: 8 September 2021

1835

Abstract

Purpose

Digitalization encourages the manufacturer to engage in inter-organizational technological activities (i.e. supplier IT integration and supply visibility) with its major supplier, which influences supply chain (SC) governance. This study tests a moderated mediation model that considers supplier IT integration and supply visibility as mediators between supply-side digitalization and supplier opportunism, and relational ties as a moderator in the relationship between inter-organizational technological activities and supplier opportunism.

Design/methodology/approach

Ordinary least square (OLS) regression is used to examine data from 200 firms in China describing their supply chain management (SCM) practices and perceived relationships with their major suppliers.

Findings

Supply-side digitalization is positively related to supplier IT integration and supply visibility. Supply-side digitalization has a positive indirect effect on supplier opportunism through supplier IT integration but a negative indirect effect through supply visibility. Relational ties weaken the positive effect of supplier IT integration and the positive indirect effect of supply-side digitalization on supplier opportunism. Relational ties also weaken the negative effect of supply visibility and the negative indirect effect of supply-side digitalization on supplier opportunism.

Originality/value

This study enriches understanding of SC governance in the digital age by empirically confirming that digital transformation brings both challenges and opportunities to SC governance and by clarifying the interplay of relational governance and technological activities. In addition, this study contributes to the SC digitalization literature by empirically validating the role of digitalization in promoting inter-organizational technological activities, as well as by revealing its potential dark side.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (#71802039, #71821002, #72091210/72091214). All authors contributed equally to this work.

Citation

Yang, L., Huo, B., Tian, M. and Han, Z. (2021), "The impact of digitalization and inter-organizational technological activities on supplier opportunism: the moderating role of relational ties", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 41 No. 7, pp. 1085-1118. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-09-2020-0664

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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