主 题：The Tradeoff of Relation-Specific Investment: Evidence from Customer-Supplier Relationships under Uncertainty Shocks
Strategy research has long highlighted relation-specific assets as a key source of relational rents. We instead reveal a potential downside of relation-specific investment by examining how such investment by suppliers may turn into a source of adjustment costs for customer firms, thwarting customers’ efficient responses to uncertainty shocks that affect their suppliers. Using a matched sample of customer-supplier relationships, our difference-in-differences estimation shows that customer firms significantly reduce sourcing from a supplier that is exposed to terrorism-induced uncertainty. However, such strategic responses are impeded, when the supplier has made greater investment specific to the customer, compared to other existing suppliers or potential new suppliers. Our study provides new insights in linking together relation-specific assets and adjustment costs, two important topics of strategy research.
Liang Chen is Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Singapore Management University. His recent research on platform ecosystems and digital strategy appears in Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management, Journal of International Business Studies, and Harvard Business Review. He also has lasting research interests in multinational firms, emerging markets, global strategy, corporate strategy, and the theory of the firm. Liang won the AOM IM Division Emerging Scholar Award, and was a finalist of the Alan M. Rugman Most Promising Scholar Award. He is Senior Editor of International Business Review and of Management and Organization Review, and Consulting Editor at Journal of International Management. He is a JIBS/JOM Editorial Board member, JIBS Best Reviewer, and JIBS guest editor.
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