Resource Scarcity Perceptions in Supply Chains: The Effect of Buyer Altruism on the Propensity for Collaboration

Robert Wiedmer, Judith M. Whipple, Stanley E. Griffis, Clay M. Voorhees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


When faced with potential resource scarcities, purchasing managers have to make decisions regarding how to react to such scarcity threats. This can be challenging as there is often uncertainty surrounding the potential scarcity. Buyers’ mitigation decisions are impacted by their perceptions, which may lead to potentially ineffective mitigation responses. Resource dependence theory as well as supply chain literature emphasize the importance of collaborating with supply chain partners to secure access to scarce resources. However, behavioral research argues that the scarcity mindset causes individuals to behave more competitively, rather than collaboratively. This research examines the extent to which buyers’ perceptions of scarcity threats affect the decision to act altruistically towards the major supplier as well as to choose to collaborate with a major supplier in order to mitigate the scarcity. The research uses a scenario-based role-playing experiment with respondents serving as purchasing managers. The research demonstrates the complexity of resource scarcity management and illustrates that when faced with resource scarcity, buyers are actually less prone to collaborate with critical resource suppliers. This effect is robust, regardless of the level of relational capital present in the buyer–supplier relationship and regardless of individual factors, such as work experience and previous purchasing experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-64
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Supply Chain Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • behavioral supply management
  • buyer–supplier relationships
  • resource scarcity
  • risk management
  • scenario-based role-playing experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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