Exploring the antecedents of preferential customer treatment by suppliers: a mixed methods approach

Lisa Huttinger, Holger Schiele, Dennis Schröer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to understand the factors that influence a supplier’s choice to treat selected customers more preferentially than others. Suppliers often lack the resources to treat all their customers equally, instead having to make choices to treat some customers as preferred. Empirical evidence indicates that preferential treatment by suppliers provides substantial benefits for the purchasing firm. Design/methodology/approach – This study applies a mixed-methods approach. First, a qualitative analysis of a sample of buyers from an automotive manufacturer was conducted. In the second step, the findings were triangulated via a quantitative survey among key account managers of the automotive firm’s suppliers. Findings – This paper is the first to provide quantitative data collected from a large sample of automotive suppliers about the drivers of preferential customer treatment. The authors were able to show that the growth opportunities for suppliers and customers’ operative excellence, reliability and relational behavior are factors that induce suppliers to award preferential customer treatment. In contrast, innovation potential for suppliers, customers’ support of suppliers, supplier involvement and contact accessibility do not show a significant effect on suppliers’ behavioral intentions toward preferential customer treatment. Originality/value – The mixed-methods approach is introduced as a form of academic enquiry in supply chain management. The factors influencing preferential customer treatment by suppliers are explored in discussions with purchasers and validated in a subsequent survey among suppliers. Recommendations for managerial practice and theory are drawn.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-721
Number of pages25
JournalSupply chain management
Volume19
Issue number5/6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Suppliers
Mixed methods
Growth opportunities
Behavioral intention
Accessibility
Influencing factors
Supply chain management
Empirical evidence
Influence factors
Supplier involvement
Preferential treatment
Buyers
Managers
Innovation
Qualitative analysis
Resources
Design methodology
Managerial practices
Key accounts
Excellence

Keywords

  • IR-93270
  • METIS-307301

Cite this

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title = "Exploring the antecedents of preferential customer treatment by suppliers: a mixed methods approach",
abstract = "Purpose – This paper aims to understand the factors that influence a supplier’s choice to treat selected customers more preferentially than others. Suppliers often lack the resources to treat all their customers equally, instead having to make choices to treat some customers as preferred. Empirical evidence indicates that preferential treatment by suppliers provides substantial benefits for the purchasing firm. Design/methodology/approach – This study applies a mixed-methods approach. First, a qualitative analysis of a sample of buyers from an automotive manufacturer was conducted. In the second step, the findings were triangulated via a quantitative survey among key account managers of the automotive firm’s suppliers. Findings – This paper is the first to provide quantitative data collected from a large sample of automotive suppliers about the drivers of preferential customer treatment. The authors were able to show that the growth opportunities for suppliers and customers’ operative excellence, reliability and relational behavior are factors that induce suppliers to award preferential customer treatment. In contrast, innovation potential for suppliers, customers’ support of suppliers, supplier involvement and contact accessibility do not show a significant effect on suppliers’ behavioral intentions toward preferential customer treatment. Originality/value – The mixed-methods approach is introduced as a form of academic enquiry in supply chain management. The factors influencing preferential customer treatment by suppliers are explored in discussions with purchasers and validated in a subsequent survey among suppliers. Recommendations for managerial practice and theory are drawn.",
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Exploring the antecedents of preferential customer treatment by suppliers: a mixed methods approach. / Huttinger, Lisa; Schiele, Holger; Schröer, Dennis.

In: Supply chain management, Vol. 19, No. 5/6, 2014, p. 697-721.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AB - Purpose – This paper aims to understand the factors that influence a supplier’s choice to treat selected customers more preferentially than others. Suppliers often lack the resources to treat all their customers equally, instead having to make choices to treat some customers as preferred. Empirical evidence indicates that preferential treatment by suppliers provides substantial benefits for the purchasing firm. Design/methodology/approach – This study applies a mixed-methods approach. First, a qualitative analysis of a sample of buyers from an automotive manufacturer was conducted. In the second step, the findings were triangulated via a quantitative survey among key account managers of the automotive firm’s suppliers. Findings – This paper is the first to provide quantitative data collected from a large sample of automotive suppliers about the drivers of preferential customer treatment. The authors were able to show that the growth opportunities for suppliers and customers’ operative excellence, reliability and relational behavior are factors that induce suppliers to award preferential customer treatment. In contrast, innovation potential for suppliers, customers’ support of suppliers, supplier involvement and contact accessibility do not show a significant effect on suppliers’ behavioral intentions toward preferential customer treatment. Originality/value – The mixed-methods approach is introduced as a form of academic enquiry in supply chain management. The factors influencing preferential customer treatment by suppliers are explored in discussions with purchasers and validated in a subsequent survey among suppliers. Recommendations for managerial practice and theory are drawn.

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