Emergence and development of inter-organizational relationships in supply chains : ICT use by SMEs in the wine industry

公司間供應鏈關係的出現和發展 : 信息交流技術在中小型紅酒業內的應用

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Kristijan MIRKOVSKI

Related Research Unit(s)


Awarding Institution
Award date14 Feb 2014


Increasing international competition and technological advances are changing the nature of business. In the 1990s, manufacturers significantly improved their productivity by implementing lean production procedures. Today, achieving further operational efficiencies for most manufacturers is virtually impossible. Therefore, manufacturers address inefficiencies caused by poor performance of suppliers, volatile demands of customers, and environmental uncertainty through the integration of the information, material, and financial flows along their supply chains that enhance their overall performance. Competition in supply chains is becoming more important, although organizational-level competitions are still common in emerging economies. Organizations can efficiently integrate business processes with their supply chain partners because of the recent advances in ICT. Enterprise-level communication and collaboration technologies (e.g., email, VoIP, content management system, Web conferencing, and business process management) and supply chain management technologies (e.g., electronic data interchange, electronic data access, bar codes, and RFID) support the integration of supply chain information. These ICTs enable manufacturers to engage in timely information sharing and collaboration with their upstream suppliers and downstream customers. Most organizations today are SMEs, which have vital roles as creators of employment and providers of support services to corporations. This finding suggests that efforts to improve SME performances are important for the national and global economic development. Despite the technological developments, SMEs still experience difficulties with ICT adoption, which is a challenge in their integration and management of global supply chains. Prior studies reveal that high implementation costs, inadequate IT skills requiring dependence on external consultants, technical problems with maintenance, and the lack of strategic information systems planning are the most common barriers to ICT adoption among SMEs in developed countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. ICT adoption inhibitors have been widely investigated in developed countries and more recently in developing. Findings from the literature show that the rule-based economies of developed countries are not directly applicable to developing countries with relationship-based economies. Prior ICT adoption studies examined technological, psychological, and organizational factors rather than environmental factors or inter-organizational relationships. This study extends prior cross-country comparative research by investigating the moderating influence of trust and distrust on ICT use by Macedonian and American SMEs in the wine industry. The study focuses on the impact of inter-organizational factors on ICT use in an artisan-oriented industry. TCE and SET are combined to explain ICT use in buyer–supplier relationships from the trust and distrust perspectives. More importantly, institutional embeddedness is a crucial factor that affects the moderating roles of these two factors. By comparing the relationship-based economy (Republic of Macedonia) with a rule-based economy (the United States), the key mechanism in action is clearly illustrated. The study attempts to answer the following research questions: 1) Are SMEs, operating in the wine industry, able to integrate their supply chains through the use of ICT? 2) How and why do trust and distrust moderate the relationships between communication, collaboration, and ICT use in upstream wine supply chains operated by SMEs? 3) How and why do social and contractual bonds influence trust and distrust in upstream wine supply chains operated by SMEs? 4) How and why does environmental uncertainty influence social and contractual bonds in upstream wine supply chains operated by SMEs? 5) Is the ICT use of SMEs different between developed and developing countries? How and why is ICT use different in SMEs between developed and developing countries?

    Research areas

  • Small business, Interorganizational relations, Business logistics, Management, Information technology, Wine industry