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Establishing and developing strategic relationships - the role for operations managers

By Robert Johnston and Roy Staughton


Purpose – The objectives of this paper are, first to identify, from the literature, the key themes in the management of strategic relationships, second to apply those themes to understand how exemplary organisations establish and develop strategic relationships and third to determine the role of operations managers in this process.\ud \ud Design/methodology/approach – This empirically based research comprised four phases; interviews with managers to identify exemplars, interviews with managers from 27 organisations, data analysis and testing of the findings.\ud \ud Findings – From a theoretical point of view, a revised definition of strategic relationships has been proposed. Many previously disparate elements of relationships have been brought together into seven dimensions of strategic relationships. The scope and nature of exemplary relationships have been captured within each of these dimensions identifying 24 elements, and suggested the key roles for operations managers in establishing and developing their strategic business relationships.\ud \ud Research limitations/implications – This research has responded to the call to help operations managers understand the skill sets required to help them establish and develop strategic business relationships. It has contributed to the growing literature on business relationships and also provided practical guidance for operations managers. The research has a number of inherent weaknesses including the interpretative nature of the analysis and that the interviews were only carried out with one party to the exemplary relationships. The focus of the research was limited to exemplary strategic relationships and the study was conducted in one sector, though a range of types of organisations were involved.\ud \ud Practical implications – From a practitioner perspective, the outputs from the research have been summarised into a number of guidelines which flesh out the role for operations managers looking to identify, establish, evaluate or strengthen their role in establishing and developing strategic business relationships.\ud \ud Originality/value – The paper provides an original and detailed perspective into the nature of strategic business relationships, irrespective of their position in the supply chain, and identifies how such relationships can be established and developed

Topics: HD
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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