Supplier relationship management in the construction industry: The effects of trust and dependence

Zhizhong Jiang, Stephan C. Henneberg, Peter Naudé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: There is conflicting evidence of the extent to which business relationships in the UK construction industry are based on trust between closely collaborating parties or alternatively are more adversarial in nature, based on dependence between the parties. This study seeks to provide empirical evidence about the effects of trust and dependence in business relationships in this industry. Design/methodology/approach: A large quantitative survey was conducted with buying firms, resulting in a total of 636 usable responses from 404 firms to test a model using structural equation modelling. The authors test the extent to which trust and dependence act as antecedents to four dimensions identified from the literature as being important determinants of relationship quality: commitment, communication, satisfaction, and long-term orientation. Findings: The results provide good evidence for the hypotheses in the authors' model: relational characteristics associated with relationship quality are mainly driven by the interpersonal trust between buyers and their suppliers. Interorganisational dependence, evidence of more adversarial relationships, has either no direct impact on relational consequences or at best far less impact than trust. Originality/value: This research substantiates trust as a key factor influencing relational characteristics associated with relationship quality in the UK construction industry. The findings confirm the earlier work in this industry that trust is an important strategic tool in supplier relationship management. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-15
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Construction industry
  • Dependence
  • Supplier relations
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Trust


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