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The supplier perspective: forging strong partnerships with buyers

Julia Roloff (Department of Human Resource Management and Corporate Social Responsibility, ESC Rennes School of Business, Rennes, France)
Michael S. Aßländer (Department of Social Sciences, Technical University Dresden / International Institute Zittau, Zittau, Germany)
Dilek Zamantili Nayir (Department of Business Administration in German Language, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 19 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to identify three commonly observed mistakes made when managing suppliers and describe factors that contribute to successful buyer–supplier partnerships.


Five extensive case studies in the automotive and clothing industry, as well as cases discussed in the literature, are analysed.


Barriers to successful partnerships are a too strong emphasis on cost cutting and a too controlling management approach on the part of the buyer, and the abuse of insider knowledge for faking performances on the side of the supplier. Open communication, willingness to engage in mutual learning and encouraging innovations are observed in successful partnerships.

Research limitations/implications

A limited number of case studies in the German automotive industry and the Turkish clothing industry are used. Both industries are subject to significant change which means that generalisations should be made with caution. Therefore, we discuss only problems and solutions that have also been identified in studies conducted in other industries and/or countries.

Practical implications

Managers learn how to best manage partnerships with suppliers and what mistakes to avoid.

Social implications

Partnerships aiming at improving working conditions are discussed. Findings and recommendations help managers improve their corporate social performance in the supply chain.


Partnerships are approached from the perspective of the supplier to identify commonly made mistakes and successful practices of buyers.



Roloff, J., Aßländer, M.S. and Zamantili Nayir, D. (2015), "The supplier perspective: forging strong partnerships with buyers", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 25-32.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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