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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses research on contracting in supply chain management and beyond. It examines the limitations sections of research on contracting in interorganizational relationships (IORs) published in the decade 2010 to 2019. A synthesis of contracting-related limitations reveals four major sets of issues. First, current conceptualization and operationalization of IOR contracting usually build on a simplified characterization of contracts. More effort should be exerted to study a larger number and variety of provisions in relation to distinct types of contracts, functions of contracts, and contract management. Second, more attention should be devoted to studying a larger number and variety of antecedents to and consequences of contract design and management. In addition, the need for a more systematic investigation of moderators and their effects has been repeatedly indicated in the literature. Third, studies on IOR contracting should focus more on contract dynamics and its interplay with relational and other governance mechanisms as well as the link between contracts and their performance implications. These dynamics should be studied in relation to temporal factors, critical events, and learning. Finally, the chapter notes that findings to date tend to have a narrow generalizability, because studies usually draw on a limited number of theories, use data from a limited number of actors, and mostly rely on subjective and perceptual data. Building on this synthesis, fruitful opportunities for future research into IOR contracting are discussed.

Keywords: supply chain management, interorganizational relationships, contracting, governance dynamics, relational governance

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