Dealing with Asymmetric Supply Chain Relationships: an Integrated Perspective for Suppliers’ Readiness and Willingness toward Interfirm Integrations(1/3)

Project Details


In today’s business environment, business competition emphasizes high professional division and effective customer value delivery, transferring the focus of competition from individual firm to entire supply chain. As a result, a firm's survival may rely on effective supply chain cooperation and solid supply chain relationships. However, within these supply chain relationships, asymmetric power, information, competence, and risk may substantially influence the willingness and quality of cooperation between supply chain partners. Therefore, a better understanding of asymmetric supply chain relationships could benefit supply chain cooperation both theoretically and practically. Nevertheless, extant literatures still lack sufficient findings and evidence for guiding the research and practice to address relationship asymmetries. Consequently, this three-year project attempts to analyze asymmetric supply chain relationships preliminarily through the perspectives of human capital theory and the relational view. Specifically, this project explores how and why supply chain partners can improve inter-firm integration and performance through enhanced resource readiness and cooperative willingness even when the relationship or power between the partners is asymmetric. On the one hand, with the human capital theory, the engagement of buyers' IT human resource would influence partners' technological readiness, which in turn influences the effectiveness of inter-firm integration. On the other hand, with the relational view, shared risk and reward schemes between partners represents the improvement of cooperative willingness, which can facilitate inter-firm integration. In order to deal with the issues of asymmetric relationships, the project will in the first year concentrate on a review of related literatures to analyze relevant theoretical lenses for identifying additional possible theory bases. With this foundation, the project will develop a framework serving as the basis for the subsequent empirical research. In the second year, a longitudinal case study will be conducted for an illustration and reflection of the framework. In the third year, a large-scale survey will be conducted for empirically testing the constructed theoretical model. This three-year project is expected to complement prior transaction-based studies in supply chains and increase our understanding of the cooperation base of supply chain partners particularly under asymmetric inter-firm relationships.
Effective start/end date1/08/1531/07/16

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Relationship asymmetry
  • Supply chain cooperation
  • Readiness
  • Willingness
  • Inter-firm integration


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