The problems associated with transparency in supply relationships — the two-way exchange of information and knowledge between customer and supplier — represent chronic difficulty for managers. The sensitivity of such exchanges appears to interfere with — even to negate — their effectiveness and value. This may be because of insufficient consideration of types of transparency and a propensity for customer domination in the relationship. This research is aimed at exploring these difficulties in order to understand the dynamics and varying nature of transparency in this context (including a proposed state of value transparency) and to suggest ways in which it might be approached in practice. In addition to the social and technology-led drivers identified for transparency, the research approach to the concept in supply has been driven by the observation that many of the traditional routines and activities occurring between industrial or commercial purchasers and their suppliers can be unnecessary and wasteful. This article presents the background to this hypothesis and records the development of a framework for discussion of the concept.
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