This is a paper from our action research course with Dr. Lars Mathiassen back in 2010! Mala Kaul, currently Assistant Professor at University of Nevada, Reno, and I conducted the class project together. We are glad it is accepted for publication at International Journal of Business Information Systems. We don’t see a lot of studies using action research as the research method because it is a challenging approach to meet the needs of both theoretical and managerial contribution. However, it is a great approach if we see ourselves as an engaged scholar to bridge the cap between the academic and practice. Regardless, it is great to see our class project turing into a journal paper!
As a reflection of the strategic importance of buyer-supplier relationships in supply chains, information sharing and knowledge exchange have been found to positively impact coordination, transparency, and perception of trust between buyers and sellers. However, our knowledge about IT as an enabler in buyer-seller relationships is limited. Against this backdrop, we examine how a large retailer, BuildSmart, adapted and leveraged a portal to help listen to the voice of their suppliers. Through a collaborative action research project, we developed a semantic sense-and respond approach to design and implement mechanisms that allowed BuildSmart to continuously sense how suppliers experienced their portal and how to generally improve their supplier relationships. As a result, we present a conceptual model for managing IT-enabled buyer-supplier relationships and demonstrate how conceptual modeling can be combined with sense-and-respond thinking to support IT-enabled process management.
Collaborative Action Research, Supplier Relationship Management, Sense and Respond, Supplier Portal, Conceptual Model, Buyer-Seller Relations, Semantic Approach