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   European Scientific Journal ISSN: 1857 - 7881 (Print)  e - ISSN 1857- 7431 THE IMPACT OF BUYER-SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIP QUALITY ON SUPPLY CHAIN PERFORMANCE: A CONCEPTUAL MODEL Mohammed Hicham Hamri, P.E.S   Ilham Rharoubi, PhD ERETTLOG Laboratory National School of Commerce and Management of Agadir, ENCG-Agadir University Ibn Zohr, MOROCCO  Abstract : Today, companies have realized that a good purchasing policy is established through relations with good suppliers, therefore relationship quality has been a major topic in recent researches on business relationship but there is a fewer that address the subject to supply chain performance, and several of them neglect the concept of inter-organizational cooperation. In this paper we have chosen to link buyer-supplier relationship as a form of inter-organizational relations to supply chain performance, we present a conceptual framework to be tested subsequently. Our literature review has relieved the importance of buyer-supplier relationship in the efficiency of supply chain management. This study will contribute to the body of knowledge by suggesting the ways to build long-term relationships with suppliers in the context of supply chains and by showing the importance of control in buyer-supplier relationship. Key words : Relationship quality, Supply chain relationship quality, Buyer-supplier relationship, Supply chain performance, Inter-organizational cooperation, Control. Introduction Several recent researches have shown that the behavior of supply chain members and the performance of the chain in itself are considerably influenced by behavioral interactions between the actors of a single link or between actors of the different links of a supply chain. A large number of empirical studies have found that buyer-supplier relationship has a positive impact on different types of performance that may be measured in organization (Yeung and Tung 1996; Liu and Wang 2000; Claro and 2005; Maloni and Benton 2000; Hsiao 2006; Khan et al., 2015; Yoon and Moon 2017).   European Scientific Journal ISSN: 1857 - 7881 (Print)  e - ISSN 1857- 7431 The literature on operational management has always emphasized the crucial importance of buyer-supplier relationship in the efficiency of supply chain management (Chen and Paulraj; 2004; Paulraj et al., 2008; Terpend et al., 2008). In order to improve supply chain performance, the focus should go beyond individual performance of each company; the management effort should be put on the inter-firm side of transactions to be able to sustain supply chain relationships and continuous improvement of the whole chain (Lambert and Pohlen 2002; Chen and Paulraj 2004). Besides that the necessity of inter-firm cooperation has been highly recognized by firms in the purpose of dealing with the turbulence of the market (Noordewier et al., 1990; Eriksson and Sharma 2003). The aim of partnerships and strategic alliances is to reduce uncertainty and improve supplier control and distribution channels, these strategic partnerships with suppliers refer to the cooperative aspect of the organization's relationship with suppliers, both their upstream suppliers and their downstream customers (Gunasekaran, Patel and McGaughey, 2004). Research question and the objectives of the research Based on these observations, the main large problem of our research is as follows: In what extent does buyer-supplier relationship influence supply chain performance? Our goal is, first, to develop a framework identifying the dimensions of buyer-supplier relationship that have the greatest impact on supply chain performance, showing the importance of control within this relationship and verifying the necessity of cooperation between this two actors to achieve performance. A critical question is also raised: does inter-organizational cooperation between buyer and supplier lead to better supply chain performance? Another question is to be considered, which is about the moderating effect of control in buyer-supplier relationship; does control within buyer-supplier relationship influence this relationship and its impact on supply chain performance? In this paper, we have focused on the literature of inter-organizational relationships particularly buyer-supplier relationship; definitions of the main concepts, theoretical foundations and theoretical models. We also propose here in this work a conceptual model of   European Scientific Journal ISSN: 1857 - 7881 (Print)  e - ISSN 1857- 7431 our research that links buyer-supplier relationship to supply chain performance, in order to bring answers for our questions cited overhead. Theoretical foundations on buyer-supplier relationship Social exchange theory Social exchange theory is a one of relational approach as interpersonal exchange theory. This approach is subsequently adapted by the authors to different types of inter-organizational relationship, even in a supply chain perspective (Fynes et al., 2004; Hsiao, 2006; Donada and Nogatchewsky 2005, 2007; Dekker et al., 2013). Larson (1992) believes that relational-based exchanges are initially built on the success of past relationships and on reputations that will reduce uncertainty and set expectations and thereby improve cooperation. Thus a control system is needed for the nascent trade relationship. So instead of assessing costs and establishing legal contracts to avoid opportunism, effective control and coordination took place, and all that for the purpose of maintaining trust and maintaining reputation. Larson (1992) believes that cooperation brings out explicit duties (communication and information sharing) and other implicit ones (transparency, honesty, fairness and reciprocity). According to the author, researchers have tried to study the control mechanisms that govern trade and improve the effectiveness of cooperation in a more social than economic perspective. According to Nogatchewsky and Donada (2005), researchers who adopt this theory in their works, believe that business exchanges performance is due to the existence of trust and the respect of relational rules. Transaction cost theory Williamson (1979) has designated three control modes in the purpose of controlling the organization’s transactions ; control by the market (price system), hierarchy (within the organization) or hybrid forms (contracts). The author started from an initial analysis of the market and the company as much as the two essential institutions of the economy in 1975, to add after that the hybrid forms in 1985-1994, in order to be able to answer the critics on his first analysis.   European Scientific Journal ISSN: 1857 - 7881 (Print)  e - ISSN 1857- 7431 Williamson studied the three categories of contracts that Macneil (1980) proposed; conventional contracts, neoclassical contracts and relationship contracts. According to the author, Macneil thinks that any type of contract has the objective of facilitating exchanges. He also specified the right type of contract for each type of governance and transaction. Williamson (1979) believes that transaction costs theory is the most adequate theory that can explain business relationships especially in terms of the need to evaluate transaction costs and opportunism. Supply chain relationship quality   Relationship quality Over the years, relationship quality has been discussed and tested in different contexts. Jarvelin and Lehtinen 1996 defined this concept as the perception of customer about the way the whole relationship achieve their expectations, predictions, goals and desires about that relationship. According to Huntley (2006), the definition of relationship quality has been neglected in term of systemic theory framework. Indeed there is no consensus among scientists about the real meaning of relationship quality. Woo and ennew (2004) explain this lack of a common definition by the variety that exists in types of relationships previously studied. Relationship quality has risen from relationship marketing field, beginning with the work of Dwyer, Schurr and Oh in 1987 and being conceptualized until 1990 by Crosby, Evans and Cowles. The first purpose of relationship quality was to build up customer loyalty (Berry and Parasuraman, 1991). This construct is very wide because most studies are rigorous in term of their empirical part but there are three major dimensions that represent the point of convergence between studies and have been validated in different context, these dimensions are; trust, commitment and satisfaction (athanasopoulou, 2009). Although relationship quality is a marketing concept, we found that it is beneficial to adopt it in our study for the purpose of conceptualizing buyer-supplier relationship, as it has been done by Fynes et al., (2004) in search of the impact of supply chain relationship quality on supply chain performance. The author states that trust, adaptation, communication and cooperation are the attributes of supply chain relationship quality, as they have the most impact on supply chain performance.   European Scientific Journal ISSN: 1857 - 7881 (Print)  e - ISSN 1857- 7431 Jouali and Chakor (2013) studied the relationship between a buyer and a seller by also adopting the dimensions of the marketing concept "relationship quality". Rasavi et al., (2016) studied the relationship between supply chain relationship quality and the cooperative strategy, as well as the impact of this relationship on strategic purchasing. Tsai and Hung (2016) studied a different perspective of supply chain relationship quality in relation to performance, with the aim of establishing a decision-making model and relying on an artificial neural network approach to seek continuous improvement in supply chain performance. According to our literature review, we found that several researchers confirm the direct cause-and-effect relationship between buyer-supplier relationship and the supply chain performance. In addition to that, buyer-supplier relationship can be apprehended by the concept of "relationship quality". Supply chain relationship quality has been defined as “the degree to which both parties in a relationship are engaged in an active, long-term working relationship and operationalize the construct using indicators of trust, adaptation, communication and co- operation” (Fynes et al., 2004, p. 182).  Dimensions of buyer-supplier relationship Our literature review revealed that relationship quality is a higher concept eligible for the purpose of apprehending business relationships; this construct may be defined by others dimension. The ones that are used on a regular basis are trust, commitment and satisfaction (Athanasopoulou, 2009; Woo and Ennew, 2004). In table 1 we present a summary of recent models of business to business relationship quality, relationship dimensions that have been used and context of the research. Authors Dimensions Research context Fynes et al. (2004) Trust, adaptation, cooperation, and communication Channel members Lages et al. (2005) Information sharing, communication, long-term relationship oriented, and satisfaction with relationship Exporter and importer
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