School of Business and Management

Yumeng Zhang

 Yumeng Zhang


Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8570
Location: Mile End, Bancroft Building

1st Supervisor: Professor Stephan Henneberg
2nd Supervisor: Dr Nima Heirati

Project Title:

"Omni-channel business triads: Understanding successful relational strategies, their interactions, and the effect of the dark side of business relationships"

Project Description:

Strategies about how to manage business relationships in the supply chain as well as in inter-organisational marketing play a crucial role in every company (Palmatier, Dant, Grewal, & Evans, 2006). SCM as well as inter-organisational marketing (IOM) is always a core part in company operations and strategy, especially for multinational enterprises. How to manage the resulting business relationships, i.e. what relational strategies a company uses, contributes significantly to its financial performance (Palmatier, Scheer, Houston, Evans, & Gopalakrishna, 2007).

In the last decades, the internet as well as the expansion of some new platforms (e.g. mobile devices) is one of the most important factors that has brought about a dramatic alteration among the structure of supply chains and inter-organisational relationships. The integration of different channels facilitates the development of omni-channel supply chains in which buyers can have a seamless purchasing experience and offerings are available through multiple channels (Kozlenkova, Hult, Lund, Mena, & Kekec, 2015). Such omni-channel business relationships bridge the gap between online and physical channels (Verhoef, Kannan, & Inman, 2015), and thereby change the competitive relational strategies that may succeed (Brynjolfsson, Hu, & Rahman, 2013).

Besides the development of omni-channels in business relationships with their challenges for SCM and IOM, further developments contribute to more complex networks of companies. These networks typically consist of multiple retailers, manufacturers, distributors and other channel agents. Compared to traditional (buyer-supplier) business relationships, an increasing number of extant research pays attention to relational strategies in such supply networks, i.e. shifts the unit-of-analysis from the business relationship (dyad) to the business network (e.g. triad), as such a network context includes the boundedness, embeddedness, and connectedness of a company with other companies (Hearnshaw & Wilson, 2013; Pathak, Wu, & Johnston, 2014).

Understanding how relationship outcomes are affected by different strategies is a vital topic in SCM and IOM. In addition to the positive relational constructs (e.g. relationship commitment and trust), negative relational effects may overwhelm the overall effects of many positive activities, and companies focus more on mitigating damages caused by the “dark-side” constructs than on accumulating the “bright-side” constructs (Samaha, Palmatier, & Dant, 2011), therefore, it is meaningful to understand how “dark-side” factors impact SCM and IOM.