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The dynamics of business service exchanges: insights from logistics outsourcing

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management
Issue number3
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)171-184
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper offers insights about the dynamics of business service exchanges. We draw on the interaction approach, contracting theory and the notion of qualification from economic sociology to develop an analysis frame for such dynamics. We then apply this frame to a single, longitudinal case study. Contrary to the extant service supply literature assuming that service definitions remain (or should remain) fixed throughout the purchasing process, our findings suggest that, under high uncertainty conditions, the service exchange object is (re)shaped through iterative cycles of stabilisation and destabilisation. This study also reveals a connection between service definition and relationship governance dynamics—uncertainty and opportunism risks related to service destabilisation can be managed through dynamic deployment of relational, contractual and economic mechanisms. This paper also contributes to our understanding of the contract as basis for interaction and openness and offers an extension of qualification theory to complex business-to-business (B2B) service settings.