Wagner, Beverly Anne
Progressive relationship development in supply chain alliances: an empirical study.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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A search of literature shows that most writings on business alliances focus their attention on alliance inception and the resultant benefits from them, and largely ignore how cooperating relations between actors develop with the passage of time.
In contrast, the main aim of the thesis is to examine the concept of phased development in alliances. Associated objectives are to establish if stages can be identified as alliances progress and whether it is possible to distinguish change points when the alliances advance from one phase to another and to determine characteristics at the time.
Exploratory and inductive qualitative methods are utilised in this study and a conceptual framework constructed using a number of methodologies. In the first instance early conceptualisation is built upon a review of supply chain alliance literature and secondary data from one research site.
Data gathering, observation and interviews continue in parallel with the introduction of a second field site. This presents the opportunity to apply an inductive approach and allows themes to emerge empirically from field research. Finally, secondary data from a third alliance helps to test and refine the previous findings.
Case studies with the research sites from different industrial sectors provide the grounds to explore, describe and analyse the interactions and processes of three alliances.
The main finding of this thesis is a framework for progressive relationship development in supply chain alliances which is presented in six notional stages, for convenience termed Prelude, Purpose, Process, Plateau, Progress and Parting.
The thesis builds on and reinforces existing research to provide insights into evolutionary alliance development as well as contributing to practice, by equipping managers with a road map to navigate a relationship maze. Finally, a future research agenda is proposed.
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