Institutional explanations: Missing link in operations management? Insights on supplier integration

Virpi Turkulainen*, Katri Kauppi, Emma Nermes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: While classical operations strategy research argues that manufacturing organizations should be managed in line with the operational strategic priorities, recent studies have brought up potential institutional explanations for adoption of various managerial practices, including supply chain management practices. The key point in the institutional argument is that organizations are especially affected by other organizations; imitation and isomorphism are a critical part of organizational behavior. The purpose of this paper is to empirically test the institutional argument in explaining the use of supplier integration mechanisms – one of the focal management practices in today’s organizations. Design/methodology/approach: The authors assess empirically the extent to which various economic institutional factors explain the use of supplier integration mechanisms in manufacturing plants with a multi-country and multi-industry survey sample. Findings: The results indicate that institutional explanations play a significant role in explaining supplier integration. The findings suggest that further emphasis on building research around the institutional argument in various areas of supply chain and operations management is important. Originality/value: As research on supply chain integration – including supplier integration – has focused on its performance implications, more research on the antecedents to integration is needed. This study provides a test of institutional theory as an antecedent to supplier integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1140
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Institutional theory
  • Supplier integration
  • Supply chain integration
  • Supply chain management
  • Survey


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