3.4 Communication as relational competency
The increasing importance of collaboration between firms in a value network has attracted attention to how relational skills generate competitive advantage for firms and networks. As previously highlighted, firms identify different core capabilities needed in the network, joint together and in a collaborative way develop the network as a whole, in order to always provide more value to the market. Also, firms partner up to add core values that lack in the network and that are important for its competitiveness (Paulraj, Labo and Chen, 2008).
Inter-organization communication in this context is argued to be the mediator through which key antecedents as long term relationship orientation, network governance and information technology can generate positive outcomes and enhance buyers and suppliers performance in a network. The model is represented bellow:
Figure 3: Proposed model of inter-organizational communication (Model 1).
Source: Paulraj, Labo and Chen, 2008
A long term relationship orientation is a crucial aspect to build, develop and maintain value adding relational exchanges. Firms that have this orientation tend to relate to their partners in a collaborative way, focusing on a win-win exchange and sharing of strategic market and process information. Thus, this behavior fosters collaborative inter-organizational communication and allow partners to create strong nexus between each other (Paulraj, Labo and Chen, 2008).
Network governance is proved to be one of the main aspects to manage productive and collaborative inter firm relationships. It is one of the means by which both sides benefit from the relationships. It has also been identified as a key factor to promote collaborative communication between firms, and therefore, foster knowledge, information and ideas exchange (Paulraj, Labo and Chen, 2008).
The implementation of information technology allows firms to reduce its costs and effort in exchanging information, knowledge, operational status and others. This can foster collaborative communication and, thus, generate competitive advantage.
Communication is, in this model, the "glue", the mediator, between these three above presented factors and performance enhance in both buyer and supplier firms. Long term relationship orientation, network governance and information technology at the same time foster collaborative communication and when able to generate it can benefit from performance enhancement. The factors alone are not enough to improve the performance of the firms, they need to exist simultaneously with collaborative communication. This happens because collaborative communication reveals the potential of these aspects.
"Effective and efficient communication between supply chain partners reduces product and performance-related errors, thereby enhancing quality, time and customer responsiveness." (Paulraj, Labo and Chen, 2008).
According to all the analysis made through the...