Supplier-supplier relationships in buyer-supplier-supplier triads: Implications for supplier performance

Zhaohui Wu, Thomas Choi, M. Johnny Rungtusanatham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations


A growing number of studies and evidence from industries suggest that, besides managing the relationship with its suppliers, a buyer needs to proactively manage the relationships between those suppliers. In a buyer-supplier-supplier relationship triad, the buyer, as the contracting entity, influences the suppliers' behaviors and the relationship between them. By considering the relationships in such a triad, we are able to gain a richer and more realistic perspective of buyer-supplier relationships. In this study, our goal is to examine supplier-supplier relationships in buyer-supplier-supplier triads, focusing on how such relationships impact the supplier performance. We frame the supplier-supplier relationship as co-opetition-one in which competing suppliers work together to meet the buyer's requirements. We investigate the role of the buyer on such relationships, and how the buyer and co-opetitive supplier-supplier relationships affect supplier performance. We find mixed empirical support for our hypotheses. However, we are able to demonstrate the dynamics of supplier-supplier co-opetition in the buyer-supplier-supplier triad. We point out the need for further studies in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010


  • Co-opetition
  • Supplier performance
  • Supplier-supplier relationships
  • Triads

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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