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Exploring information sharing in the extended supply chain: an interdependence perspective

Joakim Kembro (Department of Industrial Management and Logistics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Kostas Selviaridis (Department of Management Science, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 8 June 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to empirically explore demand-related information sharing in the extended supply chain.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a single, embedded case design, a range of methods are used to collect data from companies representing three different supply chain tiers, including focal company, first-tier suppliers and first-tier customers. The collected data are analysed through the theoretical lens of interdependence.

Findings

The findings indicate that the supply chain actors adapt information sharing to the pooled, serial or reciprocal type of interdependence. Information sharing is thus increased with key dyadic partners representing, for example, unique offerings and high market shares as percentage of total expenditure/sales. The study also unearths several barriers to information sharing beyond dyadic ties, including problems related to dis-aggregated, misinterpreted and/or incomplete information.

Research limitations/implications

The study empirically contributes to the existing literature by exploring information sharing in the extended supply chain and by suggesting different approaches to information sharing depending on the type and intensity of interdependence between supply chain partners. Further, the paper contributes to the existing literature on barriers of information sharing in supply chains by identifying barriers specific to multi-tier information sharing. “Meta-information” (i.e. information about the shared information) is needed to overcome some of the barriers of sharing information in cases of weak, pooled interdependencies in the supply chain.

Practical implications

Similar to previous empirical research, this exploratory study indicates that companies, in general, refrain from sharing information beyond dyadic ties. Supply chain managers would instead mostly focus on stronger, reciprocal interdependencies and emphasise dyadic information sharing. To further guide managers, a demand profiling framework considering market share and demand uncertainty is presented. It may be interesting to engage in multi-tier information sharing in particular cases where strong interdependence exists between three or more partners.

Originality/value

This study contributes to existing research on information sharing in supply chains by empirically studying information sharing in an extended supply chain, applying interdependence theory as its analytical framework and unearthing several barriers that are specific to multi-tier information sharing.

Keywords

Citation

Kembro, J. and Selviaridis, K. (2015), "Exploring information sharing in the extended supply chain: an interdependence perspective", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 455-470. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-07-2014-0252

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited