The behaviour of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating as suppliers in business markets is receiving increasing attention in the academic literature. Developing and keeping relationships with large customers is often the major challenge. A number of studies attempt to examine how SMEs face these new requirements; however, these contributions do not address this topic in depth. This paper aims to provide a preliminary analysis over how SMEs undertake upgrading processes linked to existing and new customer relationships, through the adoption of the IMP framework, which is a conceptual perspective which could help in understanding resource development and evolution in SMEs. This paper adopts a qualitative methodology based on a longitudinal single case-study of Gamma, a small mechanical company based in an industrial cluster in Italy. Preliminary empirical analysis based on Gamma case study highlights the role of resource combination, as suggested by the IMP. Gamma has been increasingly oriented towards "active" business networking in the interaction with suppliers and customers, which have been involved in product and organisational development. Thus business relationships have become "resources" allowing access to new resources, which have been combined with existing Gamma resource base. The longitudinal approach allowed for better understanding the dynamic dimension of resource development. Moving resources across business relationships with customers has been a distinctive pattern, which has been more or less complex and difficult depending also on the behavior and features of the single business customer.

Resource development in small B2B suppliers

BOCCONCELLI, ROBERTA;PAGANO, ALESSANDRO
2016-01-01

Abstract

The behaviour of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating as suppliers in business markets is receiving increasing attention in the academic literature. Developing and keeping relationships with large customers is often the major challenge. A number of studies attempt to examine how SMEs face these new requirements; however, these contributions do not address this topic in depth. This paper aims to provide a preliminary analysis over how SMEs undertake upgrading processes linked to existing and new customer relationships, through the adoption of the IMP framework, which is a conceptual perspective which could help in understanding resource development and evolution in SMEs. This paper adopts a qualitative methodology based on a longitudinal single case-study of Gamma, a small mechanical company based in an industrial cluster in Italy. Preliminary empirical analysis based on Gamma case study highlights the role of resource combination, as suggested by the IMP. Gamma has been increasingly oriented towards "active" business networking in the interaction with suppliers and customers, which have been involved in product and organisational development. Thus business relationships have become "resources" allowing access to new resources, which have been combined with existing Gamma resource base. The longitudinal approach allowed for better understanding the dynamic dimension of resource development. Moving resources across business relationships with customers has been a distinctive pattern, which has been more or less complex and difficult depending also on the behavior and features of the single business customer.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2638925
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