Purchasing in service triads: the influence of contracting on contract management

Broekhuis, M. & Scholten, K., 2018, In : International Journal of Operations & Production Management. 38, 5, p. 1188-1204

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  • Purchasing in service triads

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate purchasing practices in service triads by exploring the link between ex ante contracting and ex post contract management and how these practices influence the satisfaction of buyers and suppliers (in concessionary arrangements) with their relationship in terms of meeting the needs of the buyer's customers.

Design/methodology/approach An in-depth exploratory multiple case study was carried out in a shop-in-shop context. Multi-method and multi-source data collection included interviews, documents and the contracts between buyer and supplier, providing evidence of the formal and relational structures in both the contracting and contract management stages.

Findings The case findings provide evidence that behavioural standards established in a social contract are important prerequisites for the establishment and subsequent management of a formal contract. Second, this study shows that, when outsourcing core services in a service triad, a combination of performance-oriented and behavioural-oriented contract terms, covering a mix of topics related to both the customer-experience and to buyer-supplier-oriented aspects, contribute to aligning the buyer's, suppliers' and customers' interests. The main findings are presented in a causal model and formulated as propositions.

Originality/value This paper is one of the first studies to explore how core services are outsourced in a service triad. It provides evidence that the social contract between buyer and supplier influences the establishment of the formal contract as well as contract management, and a mix of contract topics, some related to the customers' experience and others purely buyer-supplier oriented, contribute to the alignment of buyer's, suppliers' and customers' interests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1188-1204
JournalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Purchasing, Contracting, Social contract, Contract management, Service triad, Shop-in-shop, BUYER-SUPPLIER INTERACTION, MARKETING CHANNELS, RELATIONAL GOVERNANCE, AGENCY THEORY, PERSPECTIVE, BEHAVIOR, DESIGN, TRUST

ID: 52788882