Document Type


Publication Date




The relational view posits that supply chain integration can be a source of competitive advantage. Few firms, however, successfully co-create value to attain supernormal relational rents. We therefore elaborate theory regarding the reasons why collaboration strategies fail.


This study employs a quasi-longitudinal, multi-case interview methodology to explore the reasons why collaboration strategies fail to deliver intended results. We interviewed managers at 49 companies in Period 1 and managers at 57 companies in Period 2. Fifteen companies participated in both rounds of interviews.


This paper builds and describes a taxonomy of relational resistors. We then explore how sociological and structural resistors reinforce each other to undermine collaborative behavior. Specifically, the interplay among resistors 1) obscures the true sources of resistance, 2) exacerbates a sense of vulnerability to non-collaborative behavior that reduces the willingness to invest in relational architecture, and 3) inhibits the development of essential relational skills and organizational routines.


This research identifies and describes the behaviors and processes that impede successful supply chain alliances. By delving into the interplay among relational resistors, the research explains the detail and nuance of inter-firm rivalry and supply chain complexity. Ultimately, it is the re-enforcing nature of various resistors that make it so difficult for firms have to realize relational rents.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Supply Chain Management, volume 20, issue 6, in 2015 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online DOI: 10.1108/SCM-08-2015-0331.

Peer Reviewed