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A Qualitative Study of the Effects of Cultural Differences on Buyer-Supplier Relationships in Global Supply Chains

Fagan, Kevin (2021) A Qualitative Study of the Effects of Cultural Differences on Buyer-Supplier Relationships in Global Supply Chains. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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This dissertation investigates the effects of country-specific or national cultural differences on buyer-supplier relationships in global supply chains. The investigation was carried out by means of a cross-sectional qualitative study involving a series of semi-structured interviews with a purposefully selected international sample set of supply chain professionals. These interviews sought the perspectives of the sample on a myriad of factors found to either effect relationship quality or define the nature of buyer-supplier relationships. These perspectives were then analysed through the lenses of popular national cultural frameworks to determine whether country-specific cultural values correlate with varying perspectives on the quality and nature of business relationships. The national cultural aspect was intentionally kept blind from the sample set so as not to influence their responses and to ensure unbiased personal insights which could then be interpreted through the cultural frameworks.

The findings of the research indicated that national cultural differences do not have much effect on the nature of buyer-supplier relationships in global supply chains. The types of relationships pursued by professionals, the levels of investment in relationships by organisations and the expectations and priorities within these relationships are defined by contextual factors such as strategic direction of the firms, the shape of the industry and power-dynamics between the buyer and seller. However, there were some correlations identified between national cultural values and perceptions of relationship quality. Mainly that the more traditional survivalist nations - as defined by the Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World - valued the importance of personal bonds moreso than secular self-expressive nations that placed greater emphasis on the role of structural governance and controls in defining relationship quality. This supports previous research findings which highlight varying levels of formality encountered in international business from region to region.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Business Logistics > Supply Chain Management
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Science in International Business
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2022 10:35
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2022 10:35

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