A Precis of a Communicative Theory of the Firm

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Thus, the purchasing function has to anticipate industry trends, identify potentially valuable resources in the supply base, and acquire the identified supplier resources prior to other firms. The second tactic pertains to protecting competitive advantage even if a buyer’s competitors have perfect knowledge of their suppliers and their activities. Specifically, the purchasing function can enclose a supplier, or part of its knowledge and operations, through confidentiality agreements and supply restrictions such as exclusive or long-term contracts with suppliers that tie up capacity, backward integration or partial or complete ownership of suppliers, and the customization of supplier’s value chains to the buying firm’s needs (Porter, 1985, p.

38). These three generic strategies represent three broad types of strategic groups. Thus, the choice of strategy can be viewed as the choice of which strategic group to compete in (Porter, 1980, p. 149). , firms that can be characterized as what Porter (1980, p. 41) named “stuck in the middle” (also see Dess & Davis, 1984, p. 469; Lowson, 2003, p. 543; Müller-Stewens & Lechner, 2003, p. 147). A theory-based understanding of PSM’s role in generating competitive advantage 23 Above discussion has outlined the importance of achieving a favorable position in the marketplace in order to generate competitive advantage.

1037). In contrast to other technology-focused or incentive-based instruments, these collaborative approaches neither require expensive investments nor increases in compensation. Hence, they appear more cost efficient and most likely constitute the institutional arrangement with the lowest agency costs. In sum, by conceptualizing the interaction between the firm’s top management and the CPO as an agency relationship, principal-agent theory provides valuable insights into the linkages between business strategy, purchasing strategy, and purchasing practices.

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