The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of two typical relationship management approaches (trust relationship with suppliers and reciprocity) on manufacturer resilience in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Moreover, this paper aims to deepen the understanding of environmental uncertainty's moderating effect on the association between the trust relationship with suppliers (TRS) and reciprocity.
Structural equation modeling has been used to test the hypotheses on 361 Chinese manufacturing firms' managers and independent directors during the COVID-19 crisis.
The results reveal that reciprocity positively enhances three dimensions of manufacturer resilience, namely, preparedness, responsiveness and recovery capability. Reciprocity positively mediates the relationships between TRS and preparedness, responsiveness and recovery capability. Moreover, environmental uncertainty moderates the association between TRS and reciprocity.
This study highlights the critical role of reciprocity, the relational governance approach, in enhancing manufacturer resilience in practice. This paper suggests that during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, managers should adopt trust and reciprocity in supplier relationship governance to strengthen the resilience of manufacturing companies and adapt effective strategies according to the environment.
This study is unique in developing new scales of manufacturer resilience through interviews and surveys with Chinese manufacturers and theoretical research. Based on the social capital theory and social exchange theory, this study shed light on the role of trust and reciprocity. It also bridges relational governance theory with the literature on manufacturing firm resilience literature to help manufacturers better understand the transdisciplinary links between relationship management and resilient operations in emergencies.
Funding: This paper has been funded by the Social Science Fund Base Project of Beijing, China (19JDGLA001).
Yang, J., Liu, Y. and Kholaif, M.M.N.H.K. (2022), "The impact of relationship management on manufacturer resilience in emergencies", Kybernetes, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-08-2022-1198
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