A Theory of the Nexus Supplier: A Critical Supplier From A Network Perspective

Tingting Yan, Thomas Choi, Yusoon Kim, Yang Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


We introduce a new type of critical supplier-the nexus supplier-that becomes evident when we consider suppliers from a network perspective. The extant literature focuses on the importance of strategic suppliers and identifies strategic suppliers as critical due to their significant impact on a buying firm's profit and risk position. These strategic suppliers are considered one-at-a-time and tend to be top-tier suppliers. In contrast, a nexus supplier can come from anywhere in a multitier supply network and is critical due to its network position and the resultant portfolio of interorganizational ties. In this study, we offer a theory of the nexus supplier by integrating the supply management and social network literature. The theory is presented in the form of typologies, which articulate three ideal types of nexus suppliers and how they distinctively influence a focal buying firm's operational performance. We use real-world examples to build our arguments. We discuss implications of the nexus supplier for both theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-66
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Supply Chain Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Centrality
  • Conceptual theory building
  • Diversity
  • Focal firm
  • Nexus supplier
  • Social network theory
  • Strategy
  • Structural embeddedness
  • Supply network
  • Typologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Marketing


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