Threats and benefits of power discrepancies between organisations: a supply chain perspective

Baofeng Huo (First Author), Sebastian C. Schuh (Participant Author), Xiande Zhao (Participant Author), Qiang Wang (Participant Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal

11 Citations (Web of Science)


The discrepancy of power between organisations has raised concerns over the abuse of power in inter-organisational relationships, especially in the supply chain where parties often have different power positions. In this study, we develop and test a model that explains how the less powerful party may react to different forms of power exercised by the power source. Nowadays, customers are typically more powerful than manufacturers in supply chains. Specifically, based on data from 617 manufacturers representing various organisational sizes and industries, we examine the impact of customer coercive and expert power on the manufacturer’s information sharing behaviours (information systems and content) as well as the performance implications for both the manufacturer and the customer. Structural equation modelling reveals that customer expert power positively predicts the establishment of information systems and the extent to which information is actively shared. In contrast, customer coercive power is negatively associated with the establishment of information systems, while it is positively related to information content. Information systems, in turn, predict the extent to which information is effectively exchanged, which ultimately relates positively to flexibility and delivery performance. Flexibility performance is positively related to financial performance, while delivery performance is not. Taken together, these findings enrich our understanding of inter-organisational power dynamics by offering important insights into differential reactions that the power target may choose to counter power imbalances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3870-3884
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Corresponding author email


  • empirical study
  • information sharing
  • performance measures
  • power
  • supply chain management

Indexed by

  • ABDC-A
  • SCIE
  • Scopus
  • SCI


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