Dyadic perspectives on supplier integration

Mervi Vuori

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Suppliers' resources and capabilities have become increasingly important for companies as they strive for competitive advantages. Supplier integration (SI) can be seen as key means of tapping and utilizing suppliers' resources and capabilities. The topic is highly relevant managerially and academically, yet extant research focuses on the buyer and rarely takes the dyadic approach. Thus, enhanced knowledge on SI in buyer-supplier relationships has been called for. This dissertation focuses on supplier integration in the context of B2B dyads. The purpose is to contribute to the literature by advancing knowledge on SI from relational, process as well as system and information integration perspectives. These perspectives are based on extant literature and used in the compilation part of the dissertation.With regard to relational integration perspective, the results enhance understanding of how attractiveness influences buyer-supplier relationship development. The findings suggest that attractiveness and adaptations performed by the buyer and the supplier are interlinked in a mutually reinforcing or deteriorating manner, forming a mechanism that influences relationship development. With regard to process integration in complex solution delivery project, the results elucidate how activities are coordinated across inter-organizational boundaries between the buyer and its suppliers. The buyer was mainly responsible for cross-organizational integration, yet the suppliers actively participated and initiated integrative activities when motivated by future collaboration opportunities with the buyer. With regard to process integration in new product development, the results enhance understanding of supplier challenges during early supplier involvement. The challenges were found to relate to developing technical and managerial interaction capabilities and the findings suggest that capabilities based on contract manufacturing may not optimally support being an early involvement partner. Finally, with regard to system and information integration, the findings elucidate the role of IT in strategic buyer-supplier relationships. IT is suggested to form a key element in the relationship infrastructure that supports business exchange and enables the supplier to link to the buyer's value creation context or content. Through relationship management, the consistency between systems and activities can be improved whereby a better fit is suggested to associate with a well-performing relationship. The findings emphasize that IT needs to be managed in a holistic way in a buyer-supplier relationship.In sum, the findings provide a balanced and comprehensive view of SI with regard to relational, process and system perspectives and complement earlier research that is focused predominantly on the buyer.
Translated title of the contributionToimittaja- ja ostajayrityksen välisiä näkökulmia toimittajaintegraatioon
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Eloranta, Eero, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-7961-5
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-7962-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • supplier integration
  • relational integration
  • process integration
  • system integration
  • buyer-supplier relationships


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