To share or withhold? Contract negotiation in buyer–supplier–supplier triads

Xu Chen, Xiaojun Wang*, Xiaoqiang Zhu, Joseph Amankwah-Amoah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper seeks to fill the literature gap that lacks of exploring negotiation strategy with competing partners under asymmetric production-cost information. The purpose of this paper is to examine firms’ optimal contract negotiation strategies in buyer–supplier–supplier triads where there are concurrent negotiations between the retailer and two competing manufacturers. Design/methodology/approach: The authors consider a two-echelon supply chain, in which the retailer has the option of segmented or unified negotiation policy, whereas the two competing manufacturers can withhold or share production cost information in the negotiation. Based on game theory, the authors derive the manufacturers’ optimal wholesale prices and the retailer’s optimal retail prices with eight possible scenarios. Optimal strategic choices and operational decisions are then explored through the comparative analysis of equilibriums of eight possible scenarios. Findings: The authors find that the retailer will adopt different negotiation strategies depending on manufacturers’ decisions on sharing or withholding their production-cost information. When both manufacturers share their production-cost information, the retailer will adopt a unified negotiation policy. The high-efficiency manufacturer should adopt the same information-sharing strategy as the low-efficiency manufacturer in order to gain more profit. Originality/value: The modelling helps to bring further clarity in supply chain contract negotiation by offering a conceptual framework to enhance our understanding of the effects of information-sharing strategy and negotiation policy in the negotiation process form the perspectives of all engaging parties. Managerial insights derived from the research will enable retailers and manufacturers to make informed and better strategic and operational decisions to improve market competitiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-127
Number of pages30
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The first author is partially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos 71432003, 91646109), and Youth Team Program for Technology Innovation of Sichuan Province (No. 2016TD0013).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Asymmetric information
  • Buyer–supplier–supplier triads
  • Game theory
  • Negotiation policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Industrial relations
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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