The Influence of National Culture on Buyer-Supplier trust and Commitment

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Morgan and Hunt's (1994) Key Mediating Variable (KMV) Model has been demonstrated to be a useful means of exploring relationships between organizations. The model includes such key relational constructs as trust, commitment, cooperation, communication, shared values, and uncertainty, which have been studied extensively in the extant supply chain and marketing literatures. However, at present no comprehensive test of buyer-supplier relationships has used the KMV Model as the basis for analysis. In addition, no multi-industry study has applied the KMV Model to investigate its usefulness in other industries. Finally, the applications of the KMV Model thus far have not included testing for its usefulness across national boundaries.

The present study addresses all three of the gaps above. Using responses from U.S.-based purchasing professionals, the current study replicates the KMV Model within a new population and addresses the three gaps: First, by investigating the buyer-supplier relationship; second, by sampling respondents from three industries (fabricated metal products; industrial machinery and equipment; and electronic and other electric equipment); and third, by collecting a sample with an internationally diverse supply base.

The findings suggest that the KMV Model remains valid for predicting levels of trust and commitment in buyer-supplier relationships across the three industries. In addition, the analyses suggest that the KMV Model is a reliable predictor for trust and commitment, as well as for their respective sources and outcomes, in differing cultures at the national level.