The role of power-based behaviours in pharmaceutical supply chain resilience

Emilia Vann Yaroson, Liz Breen, Jiachen Hou, Julie Sowter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explored the effect of power-based behaviours on pharmaceutical supply chain (PSC) resilience.
This study used a mixed-method approach to explore the role of power-based behaviours in PSC resilience. Qualitative interviews from 23 key PSC stakeholders, followed by thematic analysis, revealed the underlying perceptions regarding PSC resilience. Quantitative propositions were then developed based on the themes adopted from PSC resilience literature and the qualitative findings. These were tested via a survey questionnaire administered to 106 key stakeholders across the various levels in the PSC. Structural equation modelling with partial least squares was used to analyse the data.
The data analysed identified proactive and reactive strategies as resilience strategies in the PSC. However, power-based behaviours represented by quota systems, information and price control influenced these resilience strategies. From a complex adaptive system (CAS) perspective, we found that when power-based behaviours were exhibited, the interactions between PSC actors were mixed. There was a negative influence on reactive strategies and a positive influence on proactive strategies. Our analysis also showed that PSC complexities measured by (stringent regulations, long lead times and complex production) moderated the effect of power-based behaviour on reactive strategies. Thus, the negative impact of power-based behaviours on reactive strategies stemmed from PSC complexities.
Research implications
Our research particularly reveals the role of power-based behaviours in building PSC resilience. By evaluating the nexus from a CAS perspective, the analysis considered powerbased behaviours and the moderating role of PSC complexities in developing resilience strategies. The study considers the interactions of PSC actors. It shows that power asymmetry is a relational concept that inhibits the efficacy of reactive strategies. This study thus advocates the importance of power in achieving a more resilient PSC from a holistic perspective by highlighting the importance of the decision-making process among supply chain partners. Our findings are particularly relevant if PSC resilience is viewed as a complex adaptive system (CAS). All the interactions and decision-making processes affect outcomes due to their inherent complexities. Although this study focused on the PSC, its implications could be extended to other SCs (supply chains).
Practical implications
We identified that power-based behaviours influenced resilience strategies. It was detrimental to reactive strategies due to the complexities of the PSC but beneficial to proactive strategies through resource-sharing. PSC actors are therefore encouraged to pursue proactive strategies as this may aid in mitigating the impact of disruptions. However, power-based behaviours bred partner dissatisfaction. This dissatisfaction may occur even within strategic alliances indicating that power could be detrimental to proactive strategies. Therefore, it is pertinent to identify conditions that lead to dissatisfaction when pursuing strategic partnerships. This study provides insight into actual behaviours influencing resilience and quantifies their effects on the PSC. These insights will be valuable for all supply chain partners wanting to improve their resilience strategies.
Previous PSC management and resilience studies have not examined the role of power in building resilience in the PSC. This paper thus provides a unique contribution by identifying the role of power in PSC resilience, offers empirical evidence and a novel theoretical perspective for future practice and research in building PSC resilience strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSupply Chain Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Nov 2022


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