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.
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