New product development occurs nowadays mostly in joint buyer–supplier projects, which require closer ties between the partners in order to mobilize their resources. One issue arising from this collaborative model is that the buyer tends to become more dependent on the supplier. Multiple cases of supplier obstructionism have been reported. To mitigate this dilemma, this paper analyzes the relevance of customer attractiveness as an enabler of collaboration. Testing this hypothesis on a sample of 218 buyer–supplier relationships, we show that dependency as such is not the issue in the presence of close ties. Buyers who are a preferred customer of their suppliers can accept the risk of becoming dependent on them. The managerial implications of this finding is that firms should apply a reverse marketing approach and thus attempt to become the preferred customers of their important suppliers. From a conceptual perspective, our findings indicate the need to consider dependency not as an isolated variable, but in conjunction with attractiveness.
Schiele, H., & Vos, F. G. S. (2015). Dependency on suppliers as a peril in the acquisition of innovations? The role of buyer attractiveness in mitigating potential negative dependency effects in buyer–supplier relations. Australasian marketing journal, 23(2), 139-147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ausmj.2015.04.009