Supply Management Research

pp 29-56

Buyer-Supplier Relationships in Service Procurement – The Impact of Relationship Quality on Service Performance

  • Lukas Schönberger

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This article investigates the aspects, antecedents and outcomes of the buyer-supplier relationship (BSR) in a B2B service procurement context with the service transaction as the unit of analysis. Specifically, it takes a three step approach: First, a comprehensive measurement model for B2B service performance is proposed and tested. Second, the research proves the positive effects of two BSR’s antecedents (futuristic orientation and communication) on the aspects of high-quality BSRs (cooperation and trust) and the – also positive – effects of the BSR’s aspects on service performance by employing a structural equation model (SEM). Third, moderation effects are investigated within the same SEM, primarily to prevent model relationships from being spurious as well as allowing a differentiation of different service categories. The research was developed on the theoretical foundation of Transaction Cost and Game Theory: From a Transaction Cost Theory point of view, the research’s results show that high-quality buyersupplier relationships can enable more effective service transactions by providing a safeguarded hybrid governance form in between market and hierarchy. From a Game Theory point of view, the interactions within the BSR represent a repeated games setting, where two parties – if sufficiently patient – are able to perceive the shadow of the future and to cooperate in repeated games to achieve mutually superior outcomes.