Title: The role of social relationships in the virtually integrated supply chain

Authors: Ednilson Santos Bernardes, Jaime Evaldo Fensterseifer

Addresses: University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, Department of Operations and Management Sciences, 321-19th Av. South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. ' Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, School of Management, Department of Administrative Sciences, Rua Washington Luiz 855, Porto Alegre-RS 90010-460, Brazil

Abstract: Organisations have increasingly relied on technology-enabled connections to cope with uncertainty and customer responsiveness. This has led to the virtualisation of the supply chain, which implies far-reaching involvement of trade partners as and the deployment of sophisticated technology to assure appropriate coordination. However, disruptive problems or under-exploitation of the technology potential has been all too frequent as managers, not uncommonly, overlook the role of social relationships. The dominant theory base adopted by the extant literature on electronic connection restricts the analysis to the role of transaction costs on decision-making issues. In this paper, we draw on the social network body of literature to examine the role of social relations on the virtualisation of the supply chain. We argue that social relations not only have a positive impact on the quality of information exchanged through information technology, but also may be responsible for the ultimate exploitation of its full potential.

Keywords: social relations; supply chain management; supply chain integration; supply chain coordination; virtual integration; information technology; virtual supply chains; virtual cooperation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLSM.2004.005541

International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management, 2004 Vol.1 No.1, pp.98 - 111

Published online: 19 Oct 2004 *

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