Governance mechanisms and interfirm performance : a cross-level approach and an institutional perspective

治理機制和企業間績效 : 基於跨層次和制度理論的研究

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Xuan Bai

Related Research Unit(s)


Awarding Institution
Award date3 Oct 2014


This dissertation examines the effects of interfirm governance on the economic as well as relational performance of exchange partners. Two interrelated essays take a cross-level approach and an institutional perspective to scrutinize the role of different governance mechanisms in value creation. The first essay discusses the synergy effects of alliance governance at the top and the task-level of the alliance hierarchy. Extant studies on governance mechanisms exclusively rely on senior managers as the core informants and thus focus on the perspective of top-level management. This study advances a more nuanced approach by examining alliance governance at different hierarchical levels. By collecting data from both top and task-level alliance managers in China, the results show that top-level relational governance has a greater impact on alliance performance than top-level contract utilization, whereas task-level contract utilization has a stronger positive effect than task-level relational governance. Furthermore, this essay finds that the cross-level governance match in top and task-level management promotes superior alliance performance, while a mismatch can harm the performance of the alliance. Specifically, the results suggest that top-level contract utilization and task-level contract utilization match well to improve joint alliance performance, whereas the mismatch between top-level and task-level relational governance and the mismatch between top-level contract utilization and task-level relational governance reduces alliance performance. The second essay focuses on the contract governance mechanism and examines the role of contract control in influencing buyer–supplier conflict and knowledge exchange in the supply chain. However, the existing findings regarding the role of contract control are controversial. Drawing on contract literature and institutional theory, this study investigates the differential role that output-based and behavior-based contract control play in mitigating buyer–supplier conflict and facilitating knowledge acquisition in supply chain. This study further develops a contingent perspective to examine how institutional factors moderate the impact of contract controls. The findings of an empirical study of buyer–supplier dyads in China show that output-based contract control is more effective in mitigating buyer–supplier conflict while behavior-based contract control is more powerful in facilitating knowledge acquisition. In addition, the effects of contract control are moderated by two primary institutional factors—legal enforceability and unilateral government support. The findings of this study provide important implications for supply chain research, public policy, and managerial practice.

    Research areas

  • Organizational effectiveness, Corporate governance, Interorganizational relations