Although the value of trusting, long-term relationships for supply chain management is increasingly recognized, how conflict might contribute to quality supply chain partnerships is not well understood. This study uses research on cooperative and competitive conflict to identify when conflict can help develop productive relationships. Results of structural equation analyses suggest that manufacturers and suppliers who feel interdependent rely upon cooperative approaches to conflict, not competitive or avoiding approaches. Cooperative conflict in turn strengthens trust and a long-term orientation which result in quality enhancing relationships with suppliers. These results challenge the value of conflict avoidance in East Asia. The theory of cooperative and competitive conflict, although developed largely in North America, seems useful for understanding and building quality supply chain partnerships in East Asia.
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