Title: Do relationship history and norms matter in overcoming inter-organisational difficulties in the procurement function?

Authors: Umar Burki, Arnt Buvik

Addresses: Faculty of Maritime Studies, Vestfold University College, P.O. Box 2243, N-3103 Tonsberg, Norway. ' Faculty of Economics, Informatics and Social Sciences, Molde University College, Britveien 2, Postboks, 2110, N-6402, Molde, Norway

Abstract: This study underlines the importance of relationship duration and how it affects procurement and purchasing relationships. Relationship history and relational norms have become significant factors for explaining the scope and stability of purchasing relationships (Dwyer et al., 1987; Sweeney and Webb, 2002; Liu et al., 2009). Relationship duration facilitate in developing a combination of behavioural components, contractual arrangement and trust that overcome organisation problems in inter-firm businesses and it offers an opportunity to ensure stability, and comparative advantages for the procurement partners. The authors explore how the prior length of an inter-firm relationship helps in handling problems associated to behavioural uncertainty, opportunism and ex post transaction costs. The findings highlight the critical role of the prior length of business relationships and how it can help in attenuating organisation problems in procurement relationships. This study supports that relationship duration is a significant antecedent in overcoming organisational difficulties in business relationships and also enhancing relationship quality.

Keywords: purchasing relationships; relationship history; inter-organisational behaviour; relationship duration; trust; relational norms; contractual arrangements; contracts; inter-firm businesses; stability; comparative advantages; behavioural uncertainty; opportunism; ex post transaction costs; procurement management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPM.2010.033446

International Journal of Procurement Management, 2010 Vol.3 No.3, pp.279 - 291

Published online: 02 Jun 2010 *

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