Supply Chain Orientation in SMEs as an attitudinal construct: Conceptual considerations and empirical application to the dairy sector
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Purpose - The paper aims to advance the conceptual understanding of supply chain orientation (SCO) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) as a general attitude and to empirically measure the link between SCO and willingness to implement supply chain management (SCM). Coordination among supply chain stages is widely considered important for competitiveness in all sectors. Recently, SCO of the actors has been discussed as a precondition for successful implementation of SCM. Design/methodology/approach - SCO is operationalized as a two-dimensional attitudinal construct. In all, 279 German dairy farmers participated in an online-survey. By means of factor and cluster analysis and one-way analysis of variance, the relation between the two SCO dimensions and their link with willingness to implement several currently discussed SCM measures is analysed. Findings - The SCO dimensions are not purely linearly related, as shown by three clusters with different patterns of vertical cooperation orientation and common goal orientation. No differences occur in terms of socio-economic characteristics, but the share of cooperative members varies. SCO is related to the intention to implement SCM. However, the greater the (monetary) efforts required by farmers, the lower their acceptance of an SCM measure. Trust and perception of the power relation play an important role, revealing patterns of coopetitive behaviour. Originality/value - SCO is a relatively new and little investigated construct. To the authors' best knowledge, this is the first time that a purely attitudinal measure was used, and that SMEs and the milk supply chain were investigated with respect to SCO and implementation of concrete SCM measures. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.