Re-visiting collaborative behavior in supply networks – structural embeddedness and the influence of contextual changes and sanctions

Anand Nair, Constantin Blome, Thomas Choi, Gyusuk Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study considers decision making beyond a dyadic buyer-supplier context to the network context. Decisions made by firms are shaped by behavioral norms within the supply network as perceived by the decision makers. Firms can perceive themselves to be part of a collaborative regime or one in which the potential for non-cooperation is high. Further, the ability to put sanctions on non-cooperating firms could shape the overall behavioral patterns in the network. To gain further insights into these aspects and their interactive effects on firm behavior, our study investigates decision-making in supply network by means of behavioral experiments. By organizing practicing managers in a supply network, the study investigates the role of structural embeddedness, incentive structure, and sanctioning mechanisms on the level of collaboration. The results of this study confirm that while sanctions are detrimental for collaborative behavior in a supply network, they play an important role when the underlying norms of governance of such a network are perturbed. The results show that structural embeddedness provides a context that aids adaptive collaborative behavior by firms that are part of the supply network. Once the incentive structure is altered such that there is a higher payoff from defection, the adaptive collaborative behavior is replaced by a behavior in which firms try to maximize their returns and forego collaborative decision-making behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-150
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Purchasing and Supply Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Behavioral experiments
  • Collaboration
  • Incentive structure
  • Panel data analysis
  • Sanctions
  • Supply networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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