While power-relationship commitment theory in relationship marketing area has been established well in the west literature, few studies examine the robustness of it in the Chinese context with a different culture. The generalization of power-relationship commitment theory in supply chain triple relationships may also extend our knowledge in this important area. Most of the previous studies on power-relationship commitment only investigated the relationship between two major types of power and one or two types of relationship commitment in the dyadic inter-organizational relationships. Five types of power used by the suppliers or customers and their impacts on manufacturers' two types of relationship commitment are examined based on 617 manufacturing companies in Chinese supply chains. The influence of two types of relationship commitment on supply chain performance is also investigated in this study from the perspectives of both suppliers and customers. The results indicate that the impacts of customers' use of power on relationship commitment are different from the impacts of suppliers' use of power. Suppliers' use of expert and reward power increases manufacturers' both normative and instrumental relationship commitment. But, suppliers' use of coercive power decreases manufacturers' normative relationship commitment. In contrast, Customers' use of expert power, referent power and reward power has a positive impact on manufacturers' normative relationship commitment, but customers' use of coercive power has a negative impact. Customers' use of reward power and coercive power has a positive effect on manufacturers' instrumental relationship commitment, but customers' use of legitimate power has a negative effect. Except for expert power, customers' use of power is more effective to influence manufacturers' relationship commitment than suppliers' use of power. The results also reveal that normative relationship commitment improve supply chain performance directly.
Keywords: Power, Relationship Commitment, SCM, China.
[...] (1995) empirically investigated the impact of power and relationship commitment on marketing channel member's performance from relationship marketing perspective. Using data collected from retailers of farm equipment, they found that the supplier's use of power significantly influenced the retailer's commitment to the channel relationship, and the commitment significantly influenced the perceived performance of the supplier, and subsequently the financial performance of the retailer. They found that the supplier' use of non-mediated bases of expert, referent, and legitimate power positively influence retailer's normative relationship commitment, but negatively influence the retailer' instrumental relationship commitment (not significant). [...]
[...] The strong impact of expert power on normative relationship commitment also indicates the fact that Chinese people have strong believed in knowledge and authority. The referent power did not have significant impact on instrumental relationship commitment. The relative lower impact of referent power on normative relationship commitment and insignificant impact on instrumental relationship commitment show that referent power play less important role than expert power in the inter-firm relationships between manufacturers and customers in China. Customers' use of legitimate power has no significant impact on manufacturers' normative relationship commitment to the customers, but has negative impact on instrumental relationship commitment to the customers. [...]
[...] of questions Customer's Use of Expert Power 4 Customer's Use of Referent Power 3 Customer's Use of Legitimate Power 4 Customer's Use of Reward Power 3 Customer's Use of Coercive Power 4 Supplier's Use of Expert Power 4 Supplier's Use of Referent Power 3 Supplier's Use of Legitimate Power 4 Supplier's Use of Reward Power 3 Supplier's Use of Coercive Power 4 Normative Relationship Commitment to Customer 6 Instrumental Relationship Commitment to Customer 3 Normative Relationship Commitment to Supplier 6 Instrumental Relationship Commitment to Supplier Supply Chain Performance Cronbach's alpha In the convergent validity test, we construct a CFA model using LISREL program. [...]
[...] Furthermore, because culture may have a significant influence on the role of power and relationship commitment in inter-firm relationships, this study should be extended to examine the moderating effect of culture on the relationships, and to investigate the difference of the constructs and relationships among them in different cultures. Appendix A. Measurement Items Customer's Use of Expert Power CEXP1: The people in the customer's organization knew what they are doing. CEXP2: We usually got good advice from our major customer. [...]
[...] Given the strong, positive impact of normative relationship commitment on supply chain performance, the supplier should be refrained from the use of coercive power in the relationship. However, the finding that reward power improves normative relationship commitment contradicts with Brown et al., (1995)'s findings that mediated power decreased normative relationship commitment. This contradicting finding might be caused by the cultural differences between China and the United States (Hofstede 1984), particularly in terms of power distance, which is much higher in China than in the U.S. [...]
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