Increasing preferential treatment through supplier satisfaction: The impact of social exchange theory, resource dependency theory and culture

Bita Mirzaei

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

32 Downloads (Pure)


The current globally competitive environment is affected by technological changes, shorter product life cycles, supply chain disruptions, rapid changes in the customer needs and expectations. Due to these uncertainties in the business environment, many firms are focusing on building a strategy to cope with it. Likewise, buying firms reduce their supply base to invest in long-term relationships with a small number of suppliers. As a result, buying firms are becoming more dependent on their suppliers. Consequently, traditional marketing (suppliers fighting for the buying firm) is not the way to achieve better position in the market. On the contrary, buying firms competing for the suppliers is more in common and this is called “reversed marketing”. Therefore, building long lasting and strong relationship with your supplier is crucial through which the buyer ensures receiving allocated resources of the supplier.

A buying firm wants to achieve preferred customer status in order to receive preferential treatment from their suppliers. Supplier satisfaction is important since suppliers might not allocate preferential treatments to the buying firm when they are not satisfied. Hence, resulting in not receiving the preferred customer status. The supplier satisfaction concept has been increasingly researched in the last decade. If the buyer wants to receive preferential treatment, then it should be taken into consideration. Buyers benefit from it by receiving preferred customer status which is followed by preferential treatment as well as allocated resources and competitive advantages.
Although prior research has already pointed out that supplier satisfaction is of growing importance for the buying firm, current literature still lacks including moderating factors or further concepts such as culture and RDT. Therefore this dissertation aims to close two research gaps. 1. Culture: Through the increased awareness of potential issues caused by culture in the buyer-supplier relationship, there is no large empirical study so far that would analyse if culture influences the supplier satisfaction and thus supplier’s allocated resources. It is important to study this context in the setting of supplier satisfaction. This would improve the supplier's satisfaction and contribute to receiving preferential treatment. 2. Resource dependence: empirically testing the explanatory content of RDT for explaining and eventually managing resource allocation in buyer-supplier relationships is still limited in the supplier satisfaction context.

This dissertation’s major contributions can be summed up as follows. First, a CVF framework was used to empirically test organisational culture's effect. This shows which cultural type influences the relationship between the buyers’ relational behaviour and supplier satisfaction as well as receiving allocated resources. Second, the explanatory content of RDT for explaining resource allocation in buyer-supplier relationships by considering cultural influences was tested. Finally, RDT was put at the centre of analysis by assessing the situations in which supplying organisations are becoming dependent on buyers.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Schiele, Holger, Supervisor
  • Vos, Frederik G.S., Supervisor
Award date22 Mar 2023
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5570-8
Electronic ISBNs978-90-365-5571-5
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2023

Cite this