The impact of organizational culture on supply chain integration: a contingency and configuration approach

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Purpose - This study aims to bridge the gap in understanding the effects of organizational culture on supply chain integration (SCI) by examining the relationships between organizational cultures and SCI. The extant studies investigating the antecedents of SCI focus mainly on environments, interfirm relationships and other firm-level factors. These studies generally overlook the role of organizational culture. The few studies that do examine the effects of organizational culture on SCI show inconsistent findings. 

Design/methodology/approach - By placing organizational culture within the competing value framework (CVF), this study establishes a conceptual model for the relationships between organizational culture and SCI. The study uses both a contingency approach and a configuration approach to examine these proposed relationships using data collected from 317 manufacturers across ten countries. 

Findings - The contingency results indicate that both development and group culture are positively related to all three dimensions of SCI. However, rational culture is positively related only to internal integration, and hierarchical culture is negatively related to both internal and customer integration. The configuration approach identifies four profiles of organizational culture: the Hierarchical, Flexible, Flatness and Across-the-Board profiles. The Flatness profile shows the highest levels of development, group and rational cultures and the lowest level of hierarchical culture. The Flatness profile also achieves the highest levels of internal, customer and supplier integration. 

Research limitations/implications - This study is subject to several limitations. In theoretical terms, this study does not resolve all of the inconsistencies in the relationship between organizational culture and SCI. In terms of methodology, this study uses cross-sectional data from high-performance manufacturers. Such data cannot provide strong causal explanations, but only broad and general findings. 

Practical implications - This study reminds managers to consider organizational culture when they implement SCI. The study also provides clues to help managers in assessing and adjusting organizational culture as necessary for SCI. 

Originality/value - This study makes two theoretical contributions. First, by examining the relationships between organizational culture and SCI in a new context, the findings of the study provide additional evidence to reconcile the previously inconsistent findings on this subject. Second, by departing from the previous practice of investigating only particular dimensions of organizational culture, this study adopts a combined contingency and configuration approach to address both the individual and synergistic effects of all dimensions of organizational culture. This more comprehensive approach deepens our understanding of the relationship between organizational culture and SCI.


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