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Impact of bargaining power on supply chain profit allocation: a game-theoretic study

Sanjay Prasad (IBM India Private Limited, Bengaluru, India)
Ravi Shankar (Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India)
Sreejit Roy (IBM India Private Limited, Bengaluru, India)

Journal of Advances in Management Research

ISSN: 0972-7981

Article publication date: 22 March 2019

Issue publication date: 11 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to study the impact of bargaining powers of firms in supply chain coordination. It studies selected aspects of bargaining powers, namely, impatience, breakdown probability and outside options, and uses a bargaining-theoretic approach to analyze surplus allocation in a coordinated supply chain.


This paper proposes one-supplier one-buyer infinite horizon supply chain coordination game, where suppliers and buyers negotiate for the allocation of supply chain surplus arising out of supply chain coordination. Various aspects of the bargaining power of the negotiating parties are modeled and the paper studies impact of power levels on the results of the bargaining game.


A significance of impatience on the bargaining process and the surplus split has been established. This paper also demonstrates a rather counter-intuitive aspect of bargaining that the impatience (as perceived by the other party) can improve the bargaining position and therefore share of profits.

Research limitations/implications

This paper has limited its analysis to three key components of bargaining power. Future works can study other aspects of bargaining power, namely information asymmetry, learning curve, inside options, etc. Further, the paper has considered an infinite horizon model – this assumption can be relaxed in future research.

Practical implications

Equations to derive optimal split of the surplus have been derived and can be leveraged to design an autonomous bargaining agent to discover equilibrium profit splits in a cloud or e-commerce setting. Further, insights from this paper can be leveraged by managers to understand their relative bargaining power and drive to obtain the best profit split.


This paper establishes that impatience (in terms of counter-offer probability) has a significant impact on the bargaining position and on the split of the surplus that the firm can get for themselves. It establishes the advantage of higher levels of impatience, provided the other party recognizes the impatience and factors it in their decision-making process.



Prasad, S., Shankar, R. and Roy, S. (2019), "Impact of bargaining power on supply chain profit allocation: a game-theoretic study", Journal of Advances in Management Research, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 398-416.



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