Mitigating the performance implications of buyer’s dependence on supplier: the role of absorptive capacity and long-term relationship

Daniel Prajogo, Mesbahuddin Chowdhury, Anand Nair, T.C.E. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Buyer’s dependence on its key supplier for critical resources and capabilities is generally considered as creating a disadvantageous position for the buyer and undermining its business performance. This study aims to invoke arguments from resource dependence theory (RDT) to examine if this adverse effect of buyer’s dependence is moderated by the buyer’s absorptive capacity and a long-term relationship with the key supplier. Design/methodology/approach: Using a data set drawn from 204 manufacturing firms in Australia, this study tested the proposed model using hierarchical moderated regression analysis. Findings: The finding shows that buyer’s dependence on its key supplier by itself has no significant effect on the buyer’s business performance. However, the link between buyer’s dependence on its key supplier and performance is positively moderated by the level of the buyer’s absorptive capacity, as well as by the joint effect of buyer’s absorptive capacity and a long-term relationship with the key supplier. Practical implications: As buyer’s dependence is often difficult to avoid, the finding of this study is instructive in showing managers how to strategically mitigate the effect of their firm’s dependence on a key supplier; indeed, turn it into a positive outcome. Originality/value: This is the first study, which integrates the internal and external resources in mitigating the effect of buyer’s dependence on the supplier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-707
Number of pages15
JournalSupply Chain Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Absorptive capacity
  • Business performance
  • Buyer’s dependence
  • Empirical methods
  • Long-term relationship
  • Performance
  • Relationship value
  • Supplier-manufacturer relationships

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