Trust and opportunism as paradoxical tension : Implications for achieving sustainability in buyer-supplier relationships

Blome, Constantin and Paulraj, Antony and Preuss, Lutz and Roehrich, Jens K. (2023) Trust and opportunism as paradoxical tension : Implications for achieving sustainability in buyer-supplier relationships. Industrial Marketing Management, 108. pp. 94-107. ISSN 0019-8501

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While trust and opportunism were traditionally considered as the opposite ends of a continuum, when considered through the lens of paradox theory, these two could not only coexist, but also have a complementary effect on the achievement of sustainability in buyer-supplier relationships. To examine the combined effects of trust and opportunism, we apply a polynomial regression analysis and the response surface approach using survey data collected from 259 German firms. We find that the trust-opportunism paradox has different impacts on sustainability collaboration and evaluation. Sustainability collaboration thrives under high levels of trust and low levels of opportunism; here, firms can apply a resolution strategy to deal with the paradoxical tension. For sustainability evaluation, trust and opportunism jointly increase sustainability evaluation initially and then it decreases; in this case, a paradox acceptance strategy would be more appropriate. We also find these effects to differ between younger and mature relationships. In younger relationships equal levels of trust and opportunism result in the highest levels of sustainability collaboration. In mature relationships, the shadows of the past and the future seem to provide sufficient assurance to the buyer that sustainability collaboration can be sustained even in the presence of minor acts of opportunism.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Industrial Marketing Management
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Industrial Marketing Management. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Industrial Marketing Management, 108, 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.indmarman.2022.11.006
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? buyer-supplier relationshipsopportunismparadox theorysustainabilitytrustmarketing ??
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Deposited On:
13 Jan 2023 09:20
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 23:21