Is keiretsu really a source of competitive advantage for Japanese automotive suppliers?


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine how firms create and sustain competitive advantage in the inter-firm business relationships from a supplier's perspective. It also investigates what factors affect their competitiveness and relationship between buyers and suppliers. Design/methodology/approach - This is an exploratory study on keiretsu partnerships composed of four main phases: analysis of theoretical perspectives, construction of a conceptual framework, interview of a CEO, and finally, a survey questionnaire with Japanese automotive suppliers. Findings - As a result, this paper classified these 11 companies into four supplier groups (affiliated or independent Tier 1 suppliers; affiliated or independent Tier 2 suppliers) and analysed their competitiveness developing the research propositions further. The benefits of affiliation under a keiretsu partnership are discussed, showing that there may be little benefit in being an affiliated Tier 1 supplier. Even more critical, the results show that independent Tier 2 supplier may be more competitive than affiliated tier ones. Originality/value - These intriguing results reveal an urgent need of investigating Japanese automotive supply chains from the suppliers' perspectives in the future research. This paper extended the literatures on competitive advantage and business relationships at both theory and managerial practice.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Aston India Foundation for Applied Research
Additional Information: © Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2016 Published by Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Uncontrolled Keywords: automotive industry,buyer-supplier collaboration,competitive advantage,Computer Science Applications,Software,Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering,Control and Systems Engineering,Strategy and Management
Publication ISSN: 1758-7786
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2024 07:13
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2016 08:45
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
http://www.emer ... TM-06-2014-0077 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2016-02-01
Accepted Date: 2015-09-09
Submitted Date: 2014-06-11
Authors: Kato, Takaya
Nunes, Breno (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-8892-2728)
Dey, Prasanta K (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-9984-5374)



Version: Accepted Version

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