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Title: Opportunistisch gedrag van inkopers in strategische leveranciersrelaties
Authors: Verhappen, MFG
Keywords: buyer-opportunism
strategic supplier alliance
critical incident technique
Kraljic'leverage quadrant
Issue Date: 1-Nov-2016
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: Alliances between different companies in the supply chain tend to become more important, since individual companies encounter increasing challenges on cost, quality, speed and flexibility issues. Focusing on their core business, companies need to find a balance between the short term transaction model thoughts and strategic intensive cooperation with partners. Unfortunately the short term vision of results in opportunistic buyer behavior. Profound literature study learnt that there has hardly been any study on buyer opportunism, seen through the eyes of the buyer and no specific report has been found on buyer opportunism in strategic supplier alliances. Moreover, conflicting conclusions were found on trust, knowledge sharing, alliance horizon, dependence and formalization as antecedent of buyer opportunism. The problem statement of this reports therefore is: “What’s the role of opportunistic buyer behavior in strategic supplier alliances?” A quantitative field study was performed using the Critical incident technique by interviewing 13 buyers and purchase managers, resulting in 29 ‘incidents’. All respondents were employed by Dutch industrial manufacturers, but not in high-tech. Several potential respondents appeared to have no experience with opportunism at all, and half of the respondents who did recall opportunistic incidents could only remember less than three occurrences. During the study it became clear that in many incidents buyers showed opportunistic behavior that is similar to the advised tactics of the ‘leverage’ quadrant in Kraljic’s matrix, such as exploiting buyer power and single focus on price negotiations. Opportunistic buyer behavior was categorized in three groups: 1. Buyer breaches agreements 2. Buyer lies and cheats 3. Abuse of buyer power-surplus Typically, in almost all incidents more than one category appeared, mostly resulting in severe relational damage or even termination. In none of the incidents a single clue was found that there might be positive long term effects resulting from buyer opportunism and therefore we may induce that opportunism is harmful and undesirable in strategic supplier relationships. Several buyers tend to put part the responsibility of their behavior with their superiors or blame the pressure on short term results or impracticable working procedures. In some cases buyer opportunism was a reaction on preceding supplier opportunism. Finally buyers only applied opportunism when the relation with their supplier was already unsatisfactory. Economical motives and relational discomfort seem to be the basis of buyer opportunism. “Leverage” quadrant power abuse seems to be incorporated in the system of many buyers, but on the other hand in many cases it was the result of a calculated evaluation of risks and consequences. An etiquette on behavior, better and practicable rules and regulations, monitoring and advocacy could prevent buyers to degrade to opportunism or waive responsibility. Circulation of buyers will prevent buyers from getting personally and emotionally connected to their suppliers. Separating buyer tasks in strategic and tactical jobs will improve quality since personal profiles and characteristics differ substantially. Several suggestions were made on further qualitative and quantitative research, like moderating effects of ‘dependency’ and ‘relational norms’, but also on newly found variables like ‘frequency of contact’. Psychologists could investigate the role of personality characteristics on buyer opportunism and last but not least
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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