The elements of dependence: A case study on inter-organizational dependence (Management Project)

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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate which elements constitute inter-organizational dependence and how inter-organizational dependence influences the relationship between GGP Sweden AB and Stoeryd AB.

Background: The notion of arm’s length relationships relying on market competition has been replaced with a new ideal consisting of closer, mutually beneficial relationships with extensive collaboration, cooperative actions, and long-term orientation. The benefits of more collaborative supply chains have also been questioned. Collaborative relationships can bring numerous positive outcomes but also conveys reliance on resources or competences of others.

Intensified, collaborative relationship is connected to higher dependence, generating vulnerability when depending on others for survival. Several perspectives in social science lay grounds for the research on inter-organizational dependencies. Dependence is regarded to be an important concept for understanding buyer-supplier relationships.

Method: This case study investigates the relationship and inter-organizational dependence of GGP Sweden AB and their supplier, Stoeryd AB. Various perspectives within business research have laid grounds for a framework by which to investigate dependence. Empirical material of the two case companies has been collected with aim to provide further insights and reflections about inter-firm dependence and the elements affecting it.

Conclusion: A revised framework is presented in the shape of a model including the elements of dependence. The study recognizes the significance of regarding several elements for assessing dependence and that these must be seen in relation to other elements. Further, the behavioral factors of the relationship and intangible characteristics of the offering have been determined to significantly affect dependence. Finally, even if inter-organizational dependence is created within a relationship, elements must be seen in relation to alternative relationships. The connection between higher level of dependence and increased collaboration as apparent also in the case relationship. Trust, commitment and mutual interest are factors apparent in the relationship that may help to control the vulnerability striving from dependence.
Source: Jönköping University
Author: Broman, Christopher | Karlsson, Emilia

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