Boundary spanner relational behavior and inter-organizational control in supply chain relationships

Henri Dekker, Carole Donada, Gwenaelle Nogatchewsky, Caroline Mothe

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Boundary spanner relational behavior is considered critical in the successful management of buyer–supplier relationships and may help avoiding high costs of more formal inter-organizational controls. Yet, the influence of partners' boundary spanners on effective supply chain collaboration has had much less inquiry than the influence of broader inter-organizational controls. We use survey data of 200 buyer–supplier relationships to examine how these individual and organizational control mechanisms influence the performance effects of interfirm collaborations that vary in scope of activities undertaken. Findings show that collaboration scope as well as boundary spanner relational behavior and inter-organizational controls are positively associated with performance. The effect of collaboration scope on firm performance, however, also depends on both mechanisms but in opposite directions: while its influence on performance is enhanced by inter-organizational controls, relational behavior of partners' boundary spanners has a negative moderating effect, indicating that such behavior contributes more to the effective management of collaborations of narrow scope than those of broader scope.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Boundary spanners
  • Buyer–supplier relations
  • Collaboration scope
  • Firm performance
  • Inter-organizational control
  • Relational behavior


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