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Abstract

In this paper, we aim to identify those network subgroups that enhance the collaborative governance in a focal buyer-supplier relationship. We argue, that partners in a focal buyer-supplier relationship can be seen as embedded in a broader network of business relationships with network subgroups, (e.g. other buyers, buyers customers), which provide information that can support the collaborative governance, assessed by flexibility, joint planning and joint problem solving, by lowering the level of information asymmetry between the partners. Empirical evidence was gathered through a mailed questionnaire returned by 175 Dutch suppliers of potted plants and flowers. Our results show the importance of the information provided by the network subgroups to manage the focal buyer-supplier relationships and ultimately the impact on performance. Interestingly, although five network subgroups were mentioned in the questionnaire, suppliers only obtained reliable information for their focal relationship from the downstream subgroups of other buyers (i.e. merchant-distributors) and buyer's customers (i.e. supermarkets and flower shops). In order to avoid redundancy, managers in seeking information in their business network should not consider the network as a whole, but rather the downstream subgroups.

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