The paper industry is a particularly apt vehicle to use in illustrating the
changing nature of supplier-customer relationships. The industry is becoming increasingly global in terms of market needs, competition, and
manufacturing base. Consolidation through acquisition of smaller firms is
an ongoing phenomenon. Firms, in honing their skills and ability to compete with firms from across the world are looking for allies wherever they
can find them. One of the first such allegiances seems to be between the
supplier and customer. Exploitative tendencies are giving way to cooperation, synergy and mutually reinforcing value-creation processes.
The paper industry, in our perspective, is bestirring itself in its mission
of value and is unlikely to go the way of the steel, automobile, and consumer electronics industries, which succumbed to the onslaught of foreign
competitors. Of course, not only are paper firms embarked on a revolution
in the management of supplier-customer dependencies, they are attempting to come to grips with other problems impeding value creation and
delivery. One such problem is that of not utilizing the human resource to
the fullest extent possible, of not realizing the entire potential of the firm's
employees. In taking up this issue next, we shall explore what can be
done to more fully elicit commitment and to breathe new life into the
firm's strategies, perhaps even generate more effective ones.
See, for instance, Collier's Encyclopedia (New York: Macmillan, 1991),
See, for example,
Arlyn Melcher and
Bernard Arogyaswamy, "The Shifting
Playing Field in Global Competition," in
William Wallace, ed., Global Manufacturing: Technological and Economic Opportunities and Research Issues ( Greenwich, CT: Jai Press, 1992).
For a detailed discussion of asymmetry in brain functions see
, Human Laterality ( New York: Academic Press, 1983), pp. 29-64.
For a look at the managerial implications of such asymmetry, see
, "Planning on the Left Side and Managing on the Right," Harvard
Business Review, 1976, 54: 49-58.
Raymond Radosevich, "Strategic Implications for Organizational Design,"
Roger Declerck and
Robert Hayes, eds., From Strategic Planning
to Strategic Management ( New York: Wiley, 1976), pp. 161-77.
Gareth Morgan Images of Organization (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1986) includes an excellent treatment of redundancy of both parts and functions (pp. 98-
9). In fact, the work offers a detailed analysis of the brain as a metaphor for
organizations (pp. 79-109).
Peter Drucker Innovation and Entrepreneurship suggests that small businesses could be managed by attending to or modifying the success employed in
running large organizations. We tend to agree with Hawken ( Growing a Business,
pp. 12, 15) experience and argument which assert that a completely different
attitude is required to manage a small business.