Original Research

The role of personal relationships in supply chain risk information sharing: Perspectives from buyers and suppliers of logistics services

Marco van der Walt, Wesley Niemann, Arno Meyer
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 24, No 1 | a3703 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v24i1.3703 | © 2021 Marco van der Walt, Wesley Niemann, Arno Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 May 2020 | Published: 30 July 2021

About the author(s)

Marco van der Walt, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Wesley Niemann, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Arno Meyer, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The frequent occurrence of supply chain disruptions highlights the importance of sharing supply chain risk information (SCRI) among buyers and suppliers in third-party logistics (3PL) services. Business relationships and long-term collaboration among supply chain partners (SCP), such as 3PLs and their clients, lead to the sharing of SCRI. Risk information sharing (RIS) cannot be effectively carried out unless these relationships are based on more than just transactional information sharing. Therefore, a better understanding is needed of how personal relationships influence RIS among these partners.

Aim: The purpose of this study was to explore the role of personal relationships in supply chain RIS from the perspective of buyers and suppliers in 3PL services in South Africa.

Setting: The study was conducted among buyers and suppliers in 3PL services in South Africa.

Method: A generic qualitative research approach was followed to conduct 18 semi-structured interviews with senior managers, employed by buyers and suppliers of 3PL services.

Findings: A personal relationship among buyers and suppliers of logistics services is the cornerstone to ensure that risk information is shared effectively. Accountability, reliability, and approachability are the main behavioural attributes required to ensure RIS among SCPs. Supply chain partners struggle to determine where the boundaries of a personal relationship lie, especially when risk information is shared. The most common mitigation strategies, when dealing with RIS, are the use of a code of conduct, a code of ethics and a standard non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

Conclusion: The study provides insight into the role of personal relationships in supply chain RIS, the behavioural attributes required for RIS, and the challenges associated with RIS when a personal relationship is present. The study is, arguably, among the first empirical studies in the South African logistics services context to investigate the role of personal relationships in supply chain RIS.


Keywords

personal relationships; risk information sharing; supply chain risk mitigation; qualitative research; South Africa

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