Valiability of Buyer-Supplier Relationships: Empirical Evidence from Japanese Keiretsu Systems


Japanese buyer-supplier relationships, or Keiretsu systems, are recognized as being a major factor contributing to the competitive advantage of Japanese companies. Academics have been interested in these close relationships and some Western companies have introduced these systems. Against the reputation, Japanese buyer-supplier relationships are facing various difficulties. In particular, recent economic stagnation has added an element of seriousness to the business environment of Japanese companies.
In this paper, recent changes in buyer-supplier relationships among Japanese companies are examined using a questionnaire survey. Questionnaires were mailed to 353 manufacturing companies with stocks listed in Section One of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The results indicate that some Japanese companies are no longer willing to sustain long-term relationships. Additionally, it was indicated that receiving benefits from inter-organizational information-sharing activities affects buyers’ incentives to sustain long-term relationships with their suppliers.

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