This paper presents a contingency model that examines the external links between the business environment and supply chain strategies, and the internal links between supply chain strategies and supplier management practices. The research model theorizes that flexibility and low-cost oriented supply chain strategies should fit with the underlying business environments, and, in turn, supplier management practices (i.e., long-term relationships, supplier assessment, and integration) should fit with the chosen supply chain strategies. The dataset to test the research model was drawn from a survey of managers from 232 Australian manufacturing firms, and comparative path analyses were employed to assess the fit among different business environments, supply chain strategies, and supply chain practices. The findings show that dynamic environment has a better fit with flexibility strategy than low-cost strategy, while competitive environment surprisingly does not show a stronger fit to low-cost strategy than flexibility strategy. Additionally, the results show that while supplier assessment is important for both flexibility and low-cost oriented strategies, long-term relationship and logistics integration are more important for flexibility strategy than for low-cost strategy. The implications for theory and practice are discussed in the paper.
- Business environments
- contingency theory
- supplier management practices
- supply chain strategies