The role of buyer and supplier relationships in integrating TQM through the supply chain

Joseph R. Carter, Larry Smeltzer, Ram Narasimhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Many academics and practitioners have alluded to the importance of total quality management (TQM) principles and the important role the purchasing function plays in the quality process. However, the role of the buyer-supplier relationship in the TQM process has not been directly investigated to any large extent. Three hypotheses concerning the role of buyer-supplier relationships in the success of TQM implementation were tested. The results demonstrate that buyer-supplier relationships are different in firms with successful TQM programs. Hypothesis 1 suggests that those firms with successful TQM programs will have more formal mechanisms for interacting with suppliers. The second hypothesis suggests that business units with more successful TQM programs exhibit a greater degree of competitive focus and single sourcing. The third hypothesis relates to a higher level understanding of internal and external customer needs by successful TQM adopters. All hypotheses were supported. The buyer-supplier relationships in firms with successful TQM programs are different than firms with less successful TQM programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1998


  • Buyer-supplier relationships
  • Purchasing
  • Total quality management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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