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Strategic responses to power dominance in buyer-supplier relationships: A weaker actor’s perspective

Farooq Habib (Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)
Marko Bastl (College of Busniess, Department of Management, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
Colin Pilbeam (Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the strategic options available to a weaker actor to counteract the dominance of a stronger actor in a buyer-supplier relationship, and identifies those factors that influence the choice of individual options.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a systematic literature review methodology, a five-phase approach of planning, searching, screening, extraction and synthesis was rigorously employed. In total, 48 studies were used to draw conclusions about the phenomena of interest.

Findings

Captured in an integrated conceptual framework, this study identified five strategic options available to the weaker actor in order to counteract a power dominance of a stronger player, which were underpinned by seven influencing factors.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed conceptual framework requires first qualitative empirical validation using an abductive multi-case strategy, followed by a theory testing phase, employing a configurational approach.

Practical implications

The proposed framework suggested that the weaker actor in a buyer-supplier relationship has five options to address power dominance. These options were available within as well as beyond a focal dyadic relationship. For the stronger actor, the authors showed that power dominance is a temporary state rather than permanent.

Originality/value

This study marks one of the first attempts to present a coherent set of strategic options and underpinning factors to counteract power dominance in a buyer-supplier relationship from the perspective of a weaker actor. Given the underexplored nature of the topic, the study also provides guidelines for further research.

Keywords

Citation

Habib, F., Bastl, M. and Pilbeam, C. (2015), "Strategic responses to power dominance in buyer-supplier relationships: A weaker actor’s perspective", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 45 No. 1/2, pp. 182-203. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-05-2013-0138

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited