Power imbalance in the UK agri-food supply channels: learning to live with the supermarkets

Hingley, Martin (2005) Power imbalance in the UK agri-food supply channels: learning to live with the supermarkets. Journal of Marketing Management, 21 (1/2). pp. 63-68. ISSN 0267-257x

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Abstract

This study investigates the issue of power in the context of UK agri-food industry vertical business-to-business relationships, where the majority of control lies in the hands of large multiple retailers. Predominant in agri-food channels is the reduced supplier sourcing model; featured is the widespread application of Category Management (CM) and network supply co-ordination, through a new breed of super middlemen. The received view from the Relationship Marketing (RM) literature with its emphasis on trust, dyadic symmetry and mutuality is questioned. It is contended, alternatively that other types of relationships, for example, those based on selfishness are equally relevant; and that power imbalanced business relationships are just as important to the understanding of business exchange. Further, power should be a central consideration when concerned with business relationships and imbalance in power is no specific barrier to parties entering into collaborative relationships or to their success. This article contends that acceptance of power-imbalance is a key first-step to successful relationship building in agri-food channels and although collaborative chain activity is endorsed, suppliers are advised that this still means operating within conditions of imbalanced power and reward

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This study investigates the issue of power in the context of UK agri-food industry vertical business-to-business relationships, where the majority of control lies in the hands of large multiple retailers. Predominant in agri-food channels is the reduced supplier sourcing model; featured is the widespread application of Category Management (CM) and network supply co-ordination, through a new breed of super middlemen. The received view from the Relationship Marketing (RM) literature with its emphasis on trust, dyadic symmetry and mutuality is questioned. It is contended, alternatively that other types of relationships, for example, those based on selfishness are equally relevant; and that power imbalanced business relationships are just as important to the understanding of business exchange. Further, power should be a central consideration when concerned with business relationships and imbalance in power is no specific barrier to parties entering into collaborative relationships or to their success. This article contends that acceptance of power-imbalance is a key first-step to successful relationship building in agri-food channels and although collaborative chain activity is endorsed, suppliers are advised that this still means operating within conditions of imbalanced power and reward
Keywords:power, business to business relationships, agri-food, retailers, UK governmental policy
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D630 Food and Beverage Production
N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
N Business and Administrative studies > N240 Retail Management
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D640 Food and Beverages for the Consumer
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:4399
Deposited By: Rosaline Smith
Deposited On:12 Apr 2011 20:14
Last Modified:18 Jul 2011 16:41

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