of: Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Department of Sociology
Title: Culture and the Effectiveness of Supplier Diversity
Programs: A Test of Predictors
Dr. Tom VanValey, Chair
Dr. David Hartmann
Dr. Robert Landeros
Dr. Subash Sonnad
Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2003, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Increased globalization and diversity has brought with
it unique interdependencies. As we experience demographical shifts unlike
any other in U.S. history, the growth rate of minority-owned businesses
represents unprecedented opportunity. According to the Minority Business
Development Agency, the minority population will represent 37.4 percent
of the total U.S. population by the year 2020, and will yield purchasing
power of $3 trillion. Moreover, it is estimated that between the years
2000 and 2050 the majority of new business starts will originate in
the minority business community (U.S. Small Business Administration
1994). Minority-owned firms grew from 7 percent of all U.S. firms to
15 percent between 1982 and 1997. These key environmental changes have
significant implications for the corporate supply chain, and relationships
with minority suppliers have become increasingly important.
Supplier diversity programs have been used by firms for over 30 years,
yet few minority suppliers have found their way into mainstream processes,
and many programs have not succeeded as planned. Supplier diversity
is defined as a proactive business process that seeks to provide all
suppliers equal access to supply management opportunities (NAPM, InfoEdge
2001). One research study found major impediments in supplier diversity
programs (Dollinger & Dailey 1989). For example, minority suppliers
face higher transaction costs, experience difficulty in dealing with
complex bureaucracy, and sometimes had to deal in a hostile environment.
Other studies have found major problems with communication (Krause et.
al 1999; Kauffman 2001) and commitment (Krause et. al 1999; Carter et.
al 1999). Past research has also emphasized the important role of corporate
culture for implementing supplier diversity programs (Min 1999; Carter
et. al 1999).
This dissertation project will examine the relationship between corporate
culture and supplier diversity effectiveness. The study will examine
how attitudes toward diversity are embedded in firms and how these attitudes
influence spending levels with diverse suppliers. The general hypoTheses
is that organizations that have constructive cultures for diversity
will have higher levels of spending in supplier diversity programs.
The research will be conducted using a sample of 112 buyers from 12
units in a large heavy equipment manufacturing company. This project
involves collecting attitudinal data from the sample using an Internet-mediated
survey questionnaire. Effectiveness data will be collected using semi-structured
interviewing and archival research. This research project will build
on the findings of previous studies, and will provide additional insight
about how organizational culture influences the effectiveness of supplier
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