This study examines the effect of dependency and culture on relationship performance and satisfaction in an interdependent supply chain. Several studies have empirically tested the relationship between dependence and outcomes but none, to our knowledge, have included the multifaceted construct of organisational culture (OC) as a mediating variable. This study takes a theory-building, longitudinal case-study approach using mixed methods to understand the dynamic between dependence and culture and proposes that interdependence will lead to collaborative OCs over the long term (over five years), and this will positively influence relationship performance and satisfaction. However, our study finds that the rhetoric does not match the reality: interdependence in a supply chain relationship does not necessarily lead to a collaborative culture. It appears that firms use the term ‘collaborative’ as another term for risk management, are still wedded to transactional mechanisms rather than relational mechanisms and are opportunistic in their behaviour when the opportunity presents itself. We also find that collaborative culture is more apparent at the operational level but missing at the strategic level. When a true collaborative culture is absent, satisfaction and performance decline; when it is present, these increase. We propose that when a culture of true collaboration exists this is more stable over time but when this is missing the culture fluctuates between relational and transactional practices.
- Supply chain relationships
- Organisational culture