The Open UniversitySkip to content

Buyer–supplier collaborative relationships: Beyond the normative accounts

Emberson, Caroline A. and Storey, John (2006). Buyer–supplier collaborative relationships: Beyond the normative accounts. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 12(5) pp. 236–245.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (180kB)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This paper presents a critique of the normative, buyer–supplier literature and in addition suggests that the more empirically based literature needs to expand its scope of attention beyond its traditional confines. Four main deficiencies are identified within much of the existing buyer–supplier literature. Firstly, collaborative buyer–supplier theories fail to discriminate sufficiently between individual and firm-level buyer–supplier decision-making. Secondly, the stage models of relationship development are challenged. Thirdly, the interdependencies between buyer–supplier relations and other, competing organisational priorities are highlighted. Fourthly, we question the monolithic constructs of organisational ‘commitment’ and ‘trust’ underpinning much existing relationship-marketing literature.

Examples are presented of collaborative buyer–supplier practice drawn from multi-sector case study research of customer-responsive supply chains. We argue that, even in exemplary circumstances, collaborative relationship practices are susceptible to failure due to wider organisational and behavioural issues.

We conclude that researchers and management practitioners need to pay more attention to these issues if sustainable benefits derived from advances in buyer–supplier understanding are to be realised.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2006 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN: 1478-4092
Keywords: Buyer-supplier relationships; Collaboration; Supply chain management
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business > Department for People and Organisations
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 11913
Depositing User: Caroline Emberson
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2008 11:52
Last Modified: 08 May 2019 17:55
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU