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Paper published in "Industrial Marketing Management"

Tobias Schmitz, Bastian Schweiger and Jost Daft's paper „The emergence of dependence and lock-in effects in buyer-supplier relationships - A buyer perspective“ has been accepted for publication at the Industrial Marketing Management's special issue on "The dark side of business relationships". The in-press article is now available for download at IMM's website (10.1016/j.indmarman.2016.02.010).

Abstract of the paper

The industrial marketing literature frequently points to dependence in buyer–supplier relationships (BSRs) as an essential construct in understanding the development of strong, long-lasting partnerships. Although the antecedents of dependence have been discussed, extant research lacks an understanding of the explanatory mechanisms of how dependence – or even lock-in situations – actually evolve. In this article, we examine the emergence of these aspects in BSRs by analyzing the example of a logistics outsourcing relationship. Using a grounded theory approach in a real-life case involving a German mechanical engineering company and its service provider, we identify four interrelated mechanisms (convincing, tying, complementing and lock-in) that explain dependence and lock-in from a buyer's perspective. Based on our empirical findings, we develop a conceptual model that points to the theoretical importance of the interconnected influences and sub-processes between transactional, mental, and operative bonding effects. Our results inform managerial practice on how to plan and manage BSRs. The model enhances existing research on dependence in BSRs and can serve as a starting point for further investigations into buyer–supplier dependence (BSD) and lock-in in dyadic business relationships.


For full text visit the Industrial Marketing Management Website