Browsing Centre for Business Improvement by Authors
An exploration of power asymmetry in the apparel industry in the UK and Turkey.Talay, Cagri; Oxborrow, Lynn; Brindley, Clare; Nottingham Trent University; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2018-04-11)This paper is designed to explore the concept of power asymmetry in apparel supply chains between large retailers and SME suppliers by focusing on the experiences of 20 SME apparel manufacturer suppliers in relationship with large retailers based in the UK and Turkey. This research presents a framework for examining how suppliers’ capabilities help them to overcome power asymmetry.Using an exploratory case methodology, the paper discusses the supply chains in which the SMEs operate, identifies the power asymmetry evident in these supply chains and how the capabilities of suppliers overcome power asymmetry in relationships. The empirical findings from the data collected in the UK and Turkey illustrate both production and technical capabilities affect power asymmetry but cause and effect is difficult to establish as these capabilities are fundamental to the relationship. Management capability is significant in a number of ways, exhibited by importance of managing relationships and mitigating the risks associated with these. Custom capabilities supported suppliers efficiently in their efforts of value delivery. The study makes a contribution to the work of the Industrial Marketing Purchasing (IMP) school and the interaction approach (e.g. Ford, Hakansson, & Johanson 1986; Hakansson, & Snehota, 1998; Gadde, & Hakansson, 2002). The capability framework demonstrated a new approach to explore the further dimensions of power asymmetry and understand approaches of mitigating asymmetry in dyadic relationships. In contrast to earlier work, the research extends to industry level, rather than that of the individual firm. The paper concludes by evaluating the application of capabilities by apparel suppliers and how they build inter-dependencies and position themselves in asymmetric relationships with retailers.