James E. Henderson
May 4, 2012
Journal of Operations Management, 2012, 30(5): 382-395
This paper theoretically refines and empirically extends the debate on the type of interplay between relational experience and contractual governance in an under-researched area: supply chain disputes. We define relational experience as either cooperative or competitive; distinguish between control and coordination functions of contractual governance; and assess their interplay on the negotiation strategy used in disputes. Using a unique data set of buyer-supplier disputes, we find, in particular, that increasing contractual control governance weakens the positive effect of cooperative relational experience on cooperative negotiation strategy. However, increasing contractual control governance for a buyer-supplier dyad with competitive relational experience will increase cooperative negotiation strategy. Contractual coordination governance reinforces the positive effect of cooperative relational experience. Through this study, we reach a better understanding of how and when contractual and relational governance dimensions interact; rather than whether they act as substitutes or complements as has been studied in prior research. We discuss the implications of these findings for the field of supply chain management.