The Impact of e-Commerce on Supply Chain Relationships

Document Type



Published by Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. in International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, volume 32.9 issue 10, 2002. Bryant users may access this article here.


Internet; Supply chain; Relationship marketing; Uncertainty


Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.

Publication Source

International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management


E-commerce is such a new phenomenon that little research has addressed the effects it has on relationships in supply chains. A qualitative study was conducted with eight e-commerce companies in order to construct theoretical relationships with which to develop a grounded theory of the impact of e-commerce on managing supply chain relationships. The e-commerce environment was perceived as highly uncertain, stemming from increased information visibility and dynamic market structures. A stronger emphasis on relationship management as part of business strategy enables managers to manage uncertainty better. Interestingly, increased information does not decrease the perception of uncertainty, but creates more uncertainty. As logistics is the function often involved with both information and relationship management within the supply chain, it may prove to be invaluable in helping firms succeed in this dynamic environment. This research also found support for the application of transaction cost analysis and the resource dependence theory in explaining interorganizational relationship formation in e-commerce.