Asset specificity asymmetry and supplier opportunism in buyer–supplier exchanges

Academic Article


  • Despite the prominent role of asset specificity in buyer–supplier exchanges, its influence on opportunism remains controversial. While transaction cost economics (TCE) addresses its potential to encourage opportunism, relational exchange theory (RET) highlights its role in discouraging opportunism. We extend this debate by considering (1) the effects of asset specificity asymmetry, (2) changes in supplier opportunism over time, and (3) the moderating roles of supply market uncertainty and prior exchange history. We argue that the logics of TCE and RET are not fundamentally irreconcilable; instead, we suggest a perspective combining the calculative logic of TCE within the relationship logic of RET such that they jointly affect opportunism changes. Our propositions are supported by the results of a matched sample of 193 buyer–supplier relationships at two time points.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lumineau F; Jin JL; Sheng S; Zhou KZ
  • Start Page

  • 85
  • End Page

  • 100
  • Volume

  • 149