Manufacturer-supplier relationships and service performance in service triads

Antonios Karatzas, Mark Johnson, Marko Bastl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of the manufacturer-supplier relationship in service performance within service triads. 

Design/methodology/approach - An abductive case-research approach was adopted, using three embedded cases and 26 interviews in complex, multilevel manufacturer-supplier relationships within the same service network. Cannon and Perreault's (1999) multidimensional relationship framework was deployed to achieve granular and nuanced insight. 

Findings - This study corroborates the idea that relational relationships within service triads and servitization improve performance. The role of each relationship dimension in service performance is discerned and their interplay is captured in an analytic model. Information exchange, supplier relationship-specific adaptations, and the degree of formalization of the relationship directly influence performance, while cooperative norms and operational linkages are further back in the causal ordering. The study also highlights the importance of contingent factors (the size of the service site, the proportion of its revenues coming from service contract activities) and how they affect the relationship dimensions. 

Research limitations/implications - The work was conducted in one network and the findings were generalized to theory rather than additional empirical settings. 

Originality/value - This study is the first to derive a contextualized causal ordering of the Cannon and Perreault (1999) framework of relationship connectors and link it with service performance. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-969
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2017


  • Abductive case study
  • Service performance
  • Relationship influences
  • Service triads

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