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The impact of an organization's collaborative capacity on its ability to engage its supply chain partners

Dunne, A.J.
British food journal 2008 v.110 no.4-5 pp. 361-375
human food chain, business enterprises, food industry, food processing, supply, market competition, interviews, interpersonal relationships, case studies, Australia
Purpose -- The purpose of this paper is to constructively evaluate the process adopted by a leading Australian food processor to engage its major supply chain partners more collaboratively as part of the company's strategy to strengthen its competitive position. Design/methodology/approach -- This paper adopts a qualitative methodology and is based on a series of semi-structured interviews conducted over a two-year period with multiple informants within the focal company and its supply chain partners. Findings -- This research illustrates the importance of the focal firm having developed its own collaborative capabilities before engaging their supply chain partners. The findings clearly demonstrate that building closer relationships even with important supply chain partners is difficult and resource intensive and that the nature of the ensuring relationship will vary. Research limitations/implications -- The major limitation of this research is that it is centred on a single case study, which restricts the extent to which generalizations can be drawn from its outcomes. This limitation is off-set by the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the factors that influence the development of supply chain relationships. Practical implications -- Many of the published works in this area are theoretical or prescriptive in nature, this paper provides an empirical example of the issues involved in the development of inter-organizational relationships and their management. Originality/value -- This paper reports on a longitudinal study over a two-year period, which involved multiple interviews with respondents who were participants in the engagement process.