Supplier–Supplier Co-opetition and Supply Chain Disruption: First-Tier Supplier Resilience in the Tetradic Context

Christian F Felix Durach, Frank Wiengarten, Thomas Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
758 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose – The present study considers disruption in the buyer–supplier–supplier triad. This triad has a common second-tier supplier as the disruption source, which gives us the tetradic context. The goal is to advance the knowledge on how a first-tier supplier’s resilience against lower-tier disruptive events can be developed through horizontally connecting with the other first-tier supplier and how the buyer can benefit from its first-tier suppliers’ resilience capability. 

Design/methodology/approach – Data from 33 triads was collected and analyzed. 

Findings – As predicted, coopetition between two first-tier suppliers increases the first-tier supplier’s capability to be resilient to disruptive events emanating from a lower tier source. However, contrary to initial theorization, the first-tier supplier’s resilience capability affects the buyer’s performance during disruptive events negatively. With increasing buyer–supplier social bonds, this negative relationship can partly be alleviated. 

Research limitations/implications – Analyzing resilience within a triad to a disruption in the tetradic context reveals unexpected dynamics. Individual supplier’s resilience may have a negative impact on the buyer’s resilience in certain disruption events. 

Practical implications – The buyer can increase collective suppliers’ resilience through establishing horizontal links. To prevent becoming a victim of the supplier’s resilience in the event of a second-tier disruption, a buyer needs to become a member of the supplier’s relational network. 

Originality/value – We propose that resilience can rest with the suppliers. This observation has implications for the buyer when selecting and coordinating suppliers. Further, it considers a context beyond a triad by venturing into the tetradic context. We anticipate more studies in tetrads in future and this study can serve as a bridge

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1065
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 17 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Distribution
  • Supply chain management
  • Supply risk
  • Tetrads
  • Triads


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