Past research in the supply chain management literature has rightfully claimed that purchasing is a strategic function of the business. In contrast, other research has found that the level of involvement by members of the supply function in strategic activities is rather low. In particular, the perception of purchasing by members of one particular group within the firm, marketing, often appears to be similar to that of a clerical function performing low-value-adding activities. Thus, a dichotomy exists regarding what is often claimed (being a strategic function of the business) and the apparent reality (little participation in strategic corporate activities; conflict with members of other organizational functions). In this article, a model predicting purchasing's strategic reputation within the firm is proposed and tested. The results, which are obtained from a survey of purchasing executives, indicate a role for back-and-forth communications and a cooperative relational history to enhance purchasing's reputation within the firm. Implications are discussed for such reputation enhancement of purchasing as a strategic, value-adding function and recommendations are made for future research.
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