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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2021

Tom A.E. Aben, Wendy van der Valk, Jens K. Roehrich and Kostas Selviaridis

Inter-organisational governance is an important enabler for information processing, particularly in relationships undergoing digital transformation (DT) where partners…

Abstract

Purpose

Inter-organisational governance is an important enabler for information processing, particularly in relationships undergoing digital transformation (DT) where partners depend on each other for information in decision-making. Based on information processing theory (IPT), the authors theoretically and empirically investigate how governance mechanisms address information asymmetry (uncertainty and equivocality) arising in capturing, sharing and interpreting information generated by digital technologies.

Design/methodology/approach

IPT is applied to four cases of public–private relationships in the Dutch infrastructure sector that aim to enhance the quantity and quality of information-based decision-making by implementing digital technologies. The investigated relationships are characterised by differing degrees and types of information uncertainty and equivocality. The authors build on rich data sets including archival data, observations, contract documents and interviews.

Findings

Addressing information uncertainty requires invoking contractual control and coordination. Contract clauses should be precise and incentive schemes functional in terms of information requirements. Information equivocality is best addressed by using relational governance. Identifying information requirements and reducing information uncertainty are a prerequisite for the transformation activities that organisations perform to reduce information equivocality.

Practical implications

The study offers insights into the roles of both governance mechanisms in managing information asymmetry in public–private relationships. The study uncovers key activities for gathering, sharing and transforming information when using digital technologies.

Originality/value

This study draws on IPT to study public–private relationships undergoing DT. The study links contractual control and coordination as well as relational governance mechanisms to information-processing activities that organisations deploy to reduce information uncertainty and equivocality.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 41 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2009

Wendy van der Valk, Finn Wynstra and Björn Axelsson

The purpose of this paper is to develop theory on effective buyer‐seller interaction for different types of business services. A classification of business services which…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop theory on effective buyer‐seller interaction for different types of business services. A classification of business services which identifies four service types based on how they are used by the buying company is used.

Design/methodology/approach

Propositions based on earlier work in this area and validate these empirically by studying interaction in nine ongoing service exchanges at two different buying companies are developed.

Findings

For the three service types that could be identified in the case companies, the extent to which companies display a pattern of interaction that is in line with the proposed pattern has a positive effect on service exchange success has been largely found. Some aspects of the proposed patterns, however, seem less critical for success than others, leading to minor revisions in the effective patterns of interaction.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of this study is that only the interaction patterns for three of the four service types could be empirically validated in this paper. Further studies, exclusively aimed at testing the effectiveness of the revised interaction patterns, need to encompass all four service types.

Practical implications

The research eventually holds valuable implications for buying firms regarding the explicit and effective differentiation in interacting with their external service providers. Conversely, service providers should think about how their customers use their service to involve the appropriate seller representatives and address the right issues in the ongoing interaction.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the body of knowledge in operations management by focusing on the design and management of a series of service encounters in business‐to‐business relationships. It is a first step towards empirical validation in an area with scant theoretical development.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 29 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 28 January 2014

Wendy van der Valk and Finn Wynstra

The paper aims to empirically validate a recently developed typology to demonstrate that services that are similar in terms of technical content, but different with regard…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to empirically validate a recently developed typology to demonstrate that services that are similar in terms of technical content, but different with regard to how they are used by the buying company, require different buyer-supplier interaction processes.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper conducts an embedded case study based on dyadic data collection to investigate the purchase of cleaning services by Netherlands Railways (NS) from two suppliers. These services differ with regard to how they are used by NS: as part of the value-proposition to customers (train and station cleaning) or as part of the support processes for NS (office cleaning).

Findings

The paper finds that for a technically homogenous service, fundamental differences in required interaction arise as a result of different usage situations. These differences are reflected in the sourcing decision and the design of the service delivery management process.

Research limitations/implications

Besides the general limits of single case studies regarding external validity, a specific limitation of the study is the limited number of supplier interviews conducted.

Practical implications

In order to develop appropriate sourcing and service delivery management strategies, practitioners need to consider the use of the service purchased and how it relates to their value proposition. This research shows that pooling volume for services that are used differently may enable immediate price reduction but could reduce supplier performance and ultimately customer satisfaction.

Originality/value

The case study and the validated typology complement the limited literature on the procurement of services transferred to the next level of customers in the supply chain.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Regien Sumo, Wendy van der Valk, Arjan van Weele and Christoph Bode

While anecdotal evidence suggests that performance-based contracts (PBCs) may foster innovation in buyer-supplier relationships, the understanding of the underlying…

Abstract

Purpose

While anecdotal evidence suggests that performance-based contracts (PBCs) may foster innovation in buyer-supplier relationships, the understanding of the underlying mechanisms is limited to date. The purpose of this paper is to draw on transaction cost economics and agency theory to develop a theoretical model that explains how PBCs may lead to innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

Using data on 106 inter-organizational relationships from the Dutch maintenance industry, the authors investigate how the two main features of PBCs – low-term specificity and performance-based rewards – affect incremental and radical innovation.

Findings

The authors find that term specificity has an inverse-U-shaped effect on incremental innovation and a non-significant negative effect on radical innovation. Furthermore, pay-for-performance has a stronger positive effect on radical innovation than on incremental innovation. The findings suggest that in pursuit of incremental innovation, organizations should draft contracts with low, but not too low, term specificity and incorporate performance-based rewards. Radical innovation may be achieved by rewarding suppliers for their performance only.

Originality/value

The findings suggest that in pursuit of incremental innovation, organizations should draft contracts with low, but not too low, term specificity and incorporate performance-based rewards. Radical innovation requires rewarding suppliers for their performance only.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 36 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 February 2019

Mieneke Koster, Bart Vos and Wendy van der Valk

The purpose of this paper is to identify drivers and barriers for adopting Social Accountability 8000 (SA8000), a leading global social management standard.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify drivers and barriers for adopting Social Accountability 8000 (SA8000), a leading global social management standard.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach involves combining insights from Institutional Theory with a focus on economic performance to study SA8000 adoption by suppliers operating in a developing economy (i.e. India). Data collection involves interviews with adopters and non-adopters, social standard experts and auditors, and archival data on local working conditions.

Findings

This study confirms that customer requests are the major reason for adopting SA8000 in order to avoid loss of business. It is noteworthy, however, that those customer requests to adopt SA8000 are often symbolic in nature, which, in combination with the lack of a positive business case, hinders effective implementation.

Practical implications

The findings imply that symbolic customer requests for SA8000 adoption induce symbolic implementation by suppliers, a “supply chain effect” in the symbolic approach. Substantive requests in contrast lead to more substantive implementation and require customer investment in the form of active support and an interest in the standard’s implementation, context and effects.

Originality/value

This study is original in that it addresses social sustainability from a supplier’s perspective, using the lens of Institutional Theory. The value lies in demonstrating the “supply chain effects” that arise from the “quality” of customer requests: a purely symbolic approach by customers leading to symbolic implementation vs the merits of substantive customer requests which stimulate substantive implementation.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 49 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 18 February 2019

Kostas Selviaridis and Wendy van der Valk

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects that the framing of contractual performance incentives have on supplier’s behavioural and relational responses and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects that the framing of contractual performance incentives have on supplier’s behavioural and relational responses and on the buyer–supplier relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted three in-depth case studies of contractual relationships, which exhibit differences in terms of how performance incentives are framed, i.e., using promotion, prevention and “hybrid” frames, respectively. The study involved 38 semi-structured interviews and content analysis of contract agreements.

Findings

First, while promotion-framed incentives lead to positive supplier responses and improved relationships, prevention-framed incentives result in negative responses and deteriorating relations. Second, hybrid-framed incentives can lead to productive supplier responses when positive ex ante expectations are met, although the creation of such positive expectations in the first place depends on the proportionality of bonus and penalty elements. Third, promotion- and hybrid-framed incentives do not by default lead to positive effects, as these are contingent on factors pertaining to contractual clarity. Fourth, the overarching purpose of the contract moderates the effects of contract framing on supplier responses.

Research limitations/implications

The study contributes to contracting research by showing how the framing of performance incentives influences supplier behavioural and relational responses. It also extends the existing literature on contract framing by examining the effects of hybrid-framed incentives, and stressing that contract framing should be considered in joint with the clarity and overall purpose of the contract to elicit desired supplier behaviours.

Practical implications

Managers of buying firms may differentiate their approach to contract framing depending on the type of supplier relationship in focus. Furthermore, effective design of promotion- and hybrid-framed incentives requires attention to: realistic performance targets (on the short, medium and long term); salient bonuses related to these targets; incentive structures that appropriately balance rewards and risks; and: mechanisms that explicate and consider uncontrollable factors in the calculation of bonus–malus payments.

Originality/value

The paper extends the literature stressing the psychological impact of contracts on buyer–supplier relationships by highlighting that contractual clarity and the overarching purpose of the contract moderate the effects of contract framing on supplier behavioural and relational responses.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 20 February 2009

Wendy van der Valk and Frank Rozemeijer

This paper aims to uncover the specific difficulties associated with buying services and proposes a structured purchasing process which can help organisational buyers to…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to uncover the specific difficulties associated with buying services and proposes a structured purchasing process which can help organisational buyers to overcome the problems associated with services purchasing.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors investigate the supposed differences between goods and services procurement by means of literature research and a questionnaire distributed among Dutch purchasing managers. Additionally, they draw on experiences from additional case study research and business practice to better understand the results of the survey and to further explore the actual process of buying services.

Findings

The results of the literature review and the survey show that developing a proper specification is an important prerequisite for purchasing services successfully. Based on these findings, an expansion to the traditional purchasing process is proposed which incorporates the steps of pre‐selecting suppliers and detailing the initial specification.

Research limitations/implications

The survey is limited to The Netherlands. Furthermore, the questions in the survey consider the respondent's perception and not the “truth”.

Practical implications

For organisational buyers, the importance of a proper specification implies that they should involve service providers early on in the service purchasing process. The service providers consequently can exercise the appropriate resources to develop a high quality solution, but need to be able to demonstrate this added value in these early phases of the services purchasing process.

Originality/value

The paper adds to the discussion on buying services and tries to find out why this is perceived as complicated. It highlights three problem areas and proposes a solution to tackle these.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 29 May 2018

Björn Axelsson

B2B business is very much about relationships, and solution-oriented business may further underline this. But relations could look very different and the interface between…

Abstract

B2B business is very much about relationships, and solution-oriented business may further underline this. But relations could look very different and the interface between buyer and seller could also vary a lot and be more or less fit for purpose.

In this chapter, we point at possibilities to be more methodical about the ways in which the interfaces are organized. In longer-term business, this seems to be a core factor in order for the two or more parties involved how to get the best value of their relation. We discuss interaction patterns and what seem to be the most important factors influencing the success or failure.

Details

Organizing Marketing and Sales
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-969-2

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 25 April 2008

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Finn Wynstra, Björn Axelsson and Wendy van der Valk

Most existing classifications of business services have taken the perspective of the supplier as opposed to that of the buyer. To address this imbalance, the purpose of…

Abstract

Purpose

Most existing classifications of business services have taken the perspective of the supplier as opposed to that of the buyer. To address this imbalance, the purpose of this paper is to propose a classification of business services based on how the buying company applies the service with respect to its own business processes.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper considers some specific aspects of the process of buying and exchanging business services, focusing on the everyday production and consumption of services as opposed to the initial purchasing and negotiation phases.

Findings

Earlier literature has developed similar, albeit less elaborate classifications, but does not provide detailed insight into how such classifications are related to differentiated buyer‐supplier interaction. This classification distinguishes between four business service applications; as a component, semi‐manufacture, instrument or consumable. For each of these four types of services, interaction has to achieve different objectives and consequently they differ with regards to required organizational resources in terms of required capabilities and buyer‐supplier interfaces.

Research limitations/implications

Primarily conceptual and exploratory in nature, this paper is intended as a review of existing literature and possible starting point for further empirical validation and theoretical refinement. The paper contends that the differences in application have a significant impact on interaction patterns, but this is not to say that other variables have no impact on buyer‐supplier interaction patterns. Subsequent research should seek to control for those other possible sources of variation.

Practical implications

The overall implication of this classification is that for different services, the buying company should assess how they are applied. Subsequently, it is relevant for firms to consider what functional aspects are crucial and who are likely to become, or who should be involved and to what extent, in the purchasing decision process and in the interactions that take place after the decision has been made.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

Keywords

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