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An exploratory approach to managing a portfolio of relationships in supply chains in Australia

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Organisations need to look beyond their organization boundaries to evaluate how resources can be utilised to create value and competitive advantages. Different inter-organisational relationships have emerged as important structures in supply chains. There is a need for firms in any supply chain to successfully manage a portfolio of different relationship from contractual arms-length relationships to fully integrated strategic alliances. Many researchers have investigated the nature and drivers of buyer-supplier relationships, stressing the importance of more cooperative and long-term relationship. Nevertheless, there is little empirical research conducted on the relationship between suppliers (i.e., single road freight supplier – integrated road freight supplier providing warehousing). The road transport sector is critical to every product supply chain. This pilot study uses survey data on twenty five road transport operators in Australia to examine how these operators manage the different relationships with their supply chain partners such as warehouse service providers; distribution centers; and other road freight operators. The preliminary findings show that although the literature supports the benefits of cooperation and collaboration throughout the supply chain, Australian road freight businesses are only slightly shifting from arm’s length to closer relationships with the members of their supply chain. More unexpected results show that there is a severe imbalance and lack of trust relative to the relationship between road and freight operators and their supply chain partners


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


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Wellington, New Zealand


Victoria Management School, Victoria University of Wellington

Place of Publication

Wellington, New Zealand

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Faculty of Business and Informatics; Operations Management Symposium;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Name of Conference

Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management. Operations Management Symposium