The impact of strategic skills on supply management performance: A resource -based view
Although previous literature documented the strong link between supply management and firms' performance, the study of supply management performance antecedents has been largely overlooked. Using the resource-based theory of the firm to establish a theoretical foundation, this study serves to fill a gap in the supply management literature with respect to supply management performance antecedents such as strategic supply management skills, supplier integration, and the supply management function's perceived status. Such an understanding will help supply management professionals in rationalizing their investments in various inter- and intra-departmental decisions such as supplier relationships, recruiting the necessary skills in the supply management function, investing in a supply knowledge base, etc.
The sample used for this study consists of 152 supply management functions from 19 different industries, represented by supply management professionals with titles such as supply management manager, director of supply management, vice president of supply management, and vice president of materials management. About 80% of the 152 respondents had corporate-wide decision-making responsibilities. Confirmatory factor analyses provided evidence of adequate model fit and convergent and discriminant validity for the underlying variables and their respective factors in the model. The conceptual model and the hypothesized relationships are tested using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM).
Support was found for the causal relationships between the following variables in the model: (1) Supplier integration had a significant positive impact on supply management performance, which indicated that firms are looking to supply management to establish greater integration with suppliers that is expected to produce valuable supplier relationships that cannot be imitated by competition. (2) Strategic supply management skills had a significant positive impact on supplier integration; these skills allow the supply management function to develop strategies and practices that could be used as a valuable inimitable input to the firm's supplier integration planning process. (3) Supply management perceived status had a significant positive impact on supplier integration. This implies that higher supply management perceived status entails greater access to critical information about firm-supplier relationship history and about supplier markets, which enables the supply management function to establish valuable supplier relationships. (4) Strategic supply management skills had a significant positive impact on supply management perceived status; if the supply management function possesses these skills, top management is more willing to elevate their organizational status.
Interestingly, strategic supply management skills had a significant indirect effect on supply management performance through supplier integration and supply management perceived status. The same effect did not hold in the direct relationships between strategic supply management skills and supply management performance. This indicates that strategic supply management skills' impact on supply management performance is positive overall (i.e., positive total effect) but it is so because of the mediated path through supplier integration and supply management function's perceived status (i.e., positive indirect effect), not because of its direct effect on supply management performance. The significance of these results for theory, practice and future research are discussed. A future research agenda is also presented.
Supply chain management;
Polls & surveys;