HCBE Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship


Ruth Clarke

Committee Member

Michael Bendixen

Committee Member

Cynthia Ruppel


This study was developed to determine whether buyers expect suppliers with whom they have strong relationships to take preventative action if external events threaten to disrupt planned transactions. The alternative is that buyers perceive the relationships to be limited to contract obligations.

This dissertation employed a quantitative study design to examine the buyer's view of buyer-supplier relational capital as a tool for risk reduction in the supply chain. The study is an extension of the work linking social capital, risk management, and inter-organizational network theory. The research population was a sample of 612 U.S. buyers managing global supply chains. The results were analyzed with factor analysis to evaluate the contribution of relational expectations, contract use, and organizational risk practices on the perceived risk reduction actions of the supplier. The relationships between the identified factors were determined through the development of a path model using partial least squares analysis. The data analysis suggests that the buyer does perceive relational capital to bring about specific risk prevention action from the supplier. More importantly, buyers include in their relational expectations of the supplier the reduction of any perceived supply chain risk that could impact the buying organization. The study also reveals the widespread use of preferred supplier relationships to handle the acquisition of critical goods and services.

The study adds to the supply chain body of knowledge by expanding the known scope of buyer-supplier relational expectations. The work validates previous research by Ellis & Shockley (2010), which asserts that collaborative relationships lower a firm's risk profile. It also provides empirical evidence for network theories such as the study by DeWever, Vandenbempt & Martin (2005), who find that relational capital is a potential source of assistance during times of trouble.

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