The purpose of this study is to examine supplier financial risk through the lens of Enactment Theory, to explore the role of transparency and communication on buyers’ perceptions of supplier default risk. The authors develop a theoretical model proposing that buyer communication with suppliers leads to preemptive actions that may prevent supplier financial default and fewer supply disruptions. The results suggest that reducing equivocality in buyers through communication with suppliers leads to understanding of financial factors not captured through third-party financial indicators, leading to proactive risk mitigation activities that prevent disruptions during recessionary economic cycles. This research proposes that transparency and communication reduces equivocality in buyers, spurring them to take contractual actions that reduces, financial default in key suppliers, which leads to fewer supply disruptions.
Survey data collected from 175 firms in the North America and Brazil during a period of the global recession is used to test the impact of communication with suppliers on supply chain disruptions in periods of economic crisis. This relationship is mediated by proactive contract renegotiation and supplier financial health, supporting a model grounded in Enactment Theory.
Results show that buyers who regularly assess and develop an understanding of their key suppliers’ financial conditions are more likely to re-negotiate contracts that revise payment terms, leading to improved supplier working capital and fewer supply chain disruptions.
Validation of industry-specific financial ratios and figures could provide a richer set of insights and some quantitative measures for establishing baseline on what levels of financial ratios actually result in disruptions. However, future research should consider using a cross-sectional sample and, in addition, a qualitative approach to capture risk from a greater variety of industries and supply chain dynamics.
The notion of effective communication flows as a means for reduction of supplier disruption risk is aligned with Enactment Theory views that emphasize the benefits of risk reduction. Equivocality is reduced in buyers through information exchange and formal assessments in complex environments. This research suggests that while such communication does not have a direct effect on supply disruption risk, it is mediated through proactive buyer actions to improve supplier financial health and contract re-negotiation mechanisms that may preempt financial distress. These are important lessons learned that provide guidelines for supply chain executives in future economic recessions that may occur in the coming years.
Oliveira, M.P.V.d. and Handfield, R. (2017), "An enactment theory model of supplier financial disruption risk mitigation", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 442-457. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-03-2017-0121Download as .RIS
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