Supplier Partnerships and the Small, High-Growth Firm: Selecting for Success



Strategic partnerships are commonplace in today's global economy. Effective use of partnerships are viewed increasingly as an important issue facing small, growth-oriented firms. A key debate is how small firms should manage supplier partnerships. Contrasting the debate about the extent to which small firms are inertial versus adaptive, the impact of growth on value chain partnerships with suppliers was investigated. Data collected from 91 pharmaceutical-related firms is used to test the proposition that firm growth is related positively to maintaining or to expanding relationships with suppliers, not to terminating partnerships. The paper further posits that this relationship between firm growth and the amount purchased from a supplier is moderated by the perceived effectiveness of the value-chain partnerships such that when effectiveness is higher, the relationship between sales growth and the amount purchased from a value-chain partner is stronger. The propositions, which are tested with regression analysis, are supported partially.