Since over the last twenty years the reduction of trade barriers, the increasing liberalisation, the advancement in ICT have determined a growth in the horizontal and vertical competition among firms in the chain. Therefore, today more than ever they are pressured to develop appropriate strategies in order to become more competitive (Montgomery and Porter, 1993; Grant, 1996; Porter, 1996). However, firms nowadays no longer compete as independent entities, but as chains (Fearne, 1998; Van der Vorst et al., 1998; Sahay, 2003; Green and Inman, 2005; Green et al., 2006; Hult et al., 2007; Ketchen and Hult, 2007; Sezen, 2008) and consequently, the dynamic and mutually dependent character of relations in these chains cause a challenge for these firms towards the development of strategies that ensure competitiveness. One of the key success factors for facing this challenge is the proper management of these relations (accompanying products, services, finances, information and/or knowledge flows), focusing on harmonizing the use of resources, capabilities and core competencies along the entire chain (instead focusing only on individual firms only) to deliver higher added value.


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