The antecedents and outcomes of supply chain collaboration: a study of Ghana’s downstream petroleum sector.
Acquah, Innocent Senyo Kwasi.
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Organisations are becoming increasingly conscious of the fact that optimising the performance of the whole supply chain, instead of the individual organisations that constitute a supply chain, is the way to go. At the same time, uncertainty and changing customer expectations have made it abundantly clear that no single individual organisation has a monopoly over the efforts that lead to increased customer satisfaction. Products in Ghana’s downstream petroleum sector are mainly imported and therefore, susceptible to currency fluctuations. Furthermore, these products are undifferentiated, and the market, characterised with small margins making competition very keen, hence, internal efficiency and cost reduction are the keys to profits and survival. Though collaboration is one of the catalysts to competitive advantage and firm performance through cost reduction, how it relates to the dimensions its as antecedents and outcomes are, however, largely overlooked and neglected in the literature. Accordingly, it is inconclusive as to how the dimensions of collaborative culture, uncertainty and trust, influence supply chain collaboration as well as how supply chain collaboration influences the individual dimensions of collaborative advantage and firm performance in Ghana’s downstream petroleum sector. Drawing on the literature, this study, investigated the antecedents and outcomes of supply chain collaboration by examining through a comprehensive model, nine antecedents and seven outcomes of supply chain collaboration in the downstream petroleum sector. Collectivism, long-term orientation, power symmetry, uncertainty avoidance, benevolence, credibility microlevel uncertainty, meso-level uncertainty and macro-level uncertainty have been identified as the antecedents to supply chain collaboration. At the same time, process efficiency, business synergy, offering flexibility, quality, innovation, operational performance and financial performance were the outcome of supply chain collaboration. Theoretical underpinnings were drawn from Transaction Cost Economics (TCE), Resource-Based Theory (RBT), Resource Dependency Theory (RDT), Contingency Theory (CT) and Extended Resource-Based Theory (ERBT) to design the framework for the quantitative study. A mixed-methods approach, specifically the explanatory sequential mixed methods design made up of a quantitative survey of respondents, followed by semi-structured interviews, was adopted for the study. In the quantitative phase, a research model, made up of seventeen constructs, was developed and empirically tested, using the Partial Least Squares (PLS) approach to Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) with survey data of 166 usable responses. To further explain the quantitative findings, eight semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed, using thematic analysis in the second qualitative phase of the study. Whereas SmartPLS 3 was used to examine the relationships among the constructs in the quantitative phase, Nvivo version 12 was used to analyse the semi-structured interview data in the second qualitative phase. The quantitative findings revealed statistically significant results for eleven out of sixteen hypothesised paths. The qualitative results converged with most of the hypothesised paths in the quantitative model. Given the findings, the study recommends that more considerable attention is given to collectivism, long-term orientation, power symmetry, uncertainty avoidance, micro-level uncertainty, meso-level uncertainty, macro-level uncertainty, credibility and benevolence if firms in the downstream petroleum sector are to encourage and promote supply chain collaboration. Moreover, the relationships between supply chain collaboration and the dimensions of collaborative advantage (i.e. process efficiency, offering flexibility, business synergy, quality and innovation) and firm performance (operational performance and financial performance) need careful attention, if managers in the petroleum downstream are to reap the benefits of supply chain collaboration. The contributions of this study are three-fold: first, the study contributes to the supply chain collaboration literature by answering the call for a sub-construct level exploration of the antecedents and outcomes of supply chain collaboration. The study’s second contribution to the supply chain collaboration literature is in the use of an explanatory sequential mixed methods design, involving a first quantitative phase and a follow-up second qualitative phase. Finally, the study provides a developing country perspective that augments the evolving literature on supply chain collaboration, its antecedents as well as its outcomes.