Understanding Supplier Resistance - Overcoming Obstacles to Supply Innovation

Open access


This paper explores an important but unexplored theme in the development of 'total quality' relationships in the supply chain: why suppliers may exhibit resistance to quality initiatives, and why what seems to customers as cooperation can appear as unwelcome interference or even exploitation to suppliers. This is a question of great relevance to all those seeking to understand current business practice, and also to those seeking to bring about practical improvements in supply chain quality. Too much of the supply chain and quality literature assumes the issue of supplier's compliance with customer initiatives is unproblematic (unable to understand this sentence); experience suggests it is one of the major obstacles in developing the quality-oriented, integrated supply chain.

Abrahams P. [1994] “Just in Time is now Just too Much” Financial Times. 30th March p. 17

Black G. [1998] “Investors Worried by Companies' Silence” Financial Times Information Technology Review (Supplement) 2nd December 1998. p.4

Burnes B. and New S. [1997] “Collaboration in customer-supplier relationships: strategy, operations and the function of rhetoric” International Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management. 33:4 pp.10-17

Clegg S. [1998] “Foulcault, Power and Organisations” In: McKinlay and Starkey. pp.29-48

Davis J. [1992]. Exchange, Open University Press, Buckingham.

Lane C. and Bachmann, R. [1996] “The Social Constitution of Trust: Supplier Relations in Britain and Germany” Organization Studies. 17:3 pp.365-395

Lukes S. [1974] Power: A Radical View, Macmillan, London

McKinlay A. and Taylor P. [1998] “Through the Looking Glass: Foucault and the Politics of Production” In: McKinlay and Starkey pp.172-190.

McKinlay A. and Starkey K. (eds.) Foucault, Management and Organization Theory Sage Publications, London

Mackenzie, N. [1998] “Questionnaires Disease” Supply Management. 24th September pp.28-29

Morton B., Green K., New, S. J. and Millar, C. [1997] “'Negotiating Environmental Improvement': The Emerging Role of Environmental Supply Chain Management and NUS Services Ltd” Proceedings of the Business Strategy and the Environment Conference, Leeds, September.

Porter A. M [1998] “Was it all just talk?” Purchasing 124:1 pp.51-59.

Rinehart J., Nuxley C. and Robertson, D. [1997] Just Another Car Factory? Lean Production and its Discontents. Cornell University Press, Ithica.

Taylor P. [1999] “Companies 'Confuse' Clients” Financial Times. 5th January, p.8.