Trust‐driven Joint Operational Activities to Achieve Mass Customization: A Culture Perspective

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Finance and Supply Chain Management

Publication Date



Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify relationships among buyer‐supplier trust, joint operational activities, and the degree of mass customization as well as the interactions between cultural factors (i.e. long‐term strategic alignment and autonomy) and trust in the context of supply chain management.

Design/methodology/approach: The model of trust is based on joint operational activities and mass customization using theories of social capital and the resource‐based view of the firm. Also, culture‐related antecedents of trust are identified. Based on 208 responses from suppliers in the USA and China, this study uses structural equation modeling to test the hypotheses.

Findings: This study empirically supports the notion that trust positively drives manufacturer‐supplier activities in operations. It also supports the claim that joint operational activities contribute to mass customization capabilities in a significant way. Moreover, two culture‐related antecedents are found to be significantly related to trust.

Research limitations/implications: The sample is limited to the auto industry in North America and China. As in other supply chain studies, individual respondents may have somewhat limited information about different aspects of their company's supply chain.

Practical implications: In general, it appears that trust is important in determining mass customization capabilities regardless of culture. For practitioners, long‐term strategic alignment is more important for firms to increase trust than autonomy although both can significantly increase the level of trust between buyer and supplier.

Originality/value: Long‐term strategic alignment and autonomy are identified as antecedents of trust and empirically supported.


This article was originally published in Benchmarking: An International Journal. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Benchmarking: An International Journal


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