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Non-linear effects of relational capital on supply-side resilience: The moderating role of boundary spanners’ personal ties

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>6/12/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number9/10
Volume39
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)1053-1075
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Purpose
Prior studies have largely overlooked the potentially negative consequences of a buyer’s relational capital (RC) with a supplier for supply-side resilience, assuming a positive linear relationship between the constructs. Meanwhile, the focus of research has been at an organisational level without incorporating the role of boundary spanning individuals at the interface between buyer and supplier. Drawing on social capital and boundary spanning theory, the purpose of this paper is to: re-examine the relationship between RC and supply-side resilience, challenging the linear assumption; and investigate how both the strength and diversity of a boundary spanner’s ties moderate this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach
Survey data are collected from 248 firms and validated using a subset of 57 attentive secondary respondents and archival data. The latent moderated structural equation method is applied to analyse the data.

Findings
An inverted U-shaped relationship between RC and supply-side resilience is identified. Tie strength in particular has a positive moderating effect on the relationship. More specifically, the downward RC–supply-side resilience relationship flips into an upward curvilinear relationship when boundary spanning individuals develop stronger ties with supplier personnel.

Research limitations/implications
A deeper insight into the RC–supply-side resilience relationship is provided. Findings are based on Chinese manufacturing firms and cross-sectional data meaning further research is needed to determine their generalisability.

Practical implications
In evaluating how to enhance supply-side resilience, buying firms must decide whether the associated collaborative benefits of developing RC outweigh the potential costs. Managers also need to be concerned with the impact of developing RC between organisations and enhancing the tie strength of individuals simultaneously.

Originality/value
The paper goes beyond the linear relationship between RC and supply-side resilience. Incorporating the moderating role of boundary spanners identifies a novel phenomenon whereby the RC–resilience relationship flips from an inverted to a U-shaped curve.

Bibliographic note

This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.