Managing in B2B Markets: Negotiation and Conflict

Second year module

Lecturer: Chris Lonsdale

The importance of being able to effectively manage supply inputs varies between organisations. Financial institutions, for example, rely relatively little on their suppliers. For engineering companies like Rolls-Royce, IT vendors like IBM and the supermarket giants like Tesco however, the effective management of suppliers is critical to the entire operation of the firm. The quality, technology, cost and delivery performance of their suppliers has a critical and far-reaching impact upon their ability to meet the challenges of their competitors and the demands of their customers.

This course discusses in detail the process by which the effective management of supply inputs is achieved, however important that task is to the organisation concerned. It builds on the Year 1 course Introduction to Supply Chain Management by (a) focusing on one aspect of supply chain management, the process of contracting and negotiating with the organisation's immediate upstream suppliers, and (b) going into much more detail about that aspect, using considerably more challenging economic concepts.

The course is organised in accordance with the different stages of the contracting and negotiation process - from the specification to the development activities that might occur during the contractual period. To discuss the challenges that the process delivers to managers, the course accesses a range of different literatures: strategic management, organisational buying behaviour, information economics, decision theory, inter-organisational relations, behavioural economics, institutional economics and conflict theory. Whilst being heavily theoretical, the course also accesses considerable case evidence, much of it obtained by the lecturer during his own research efforts.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to:

  • Understand the objective of managing the contracting and negotiation process, namely value for money, and how it links to the strategic posture of the organisation;
  • Recognise the standard contracting and negotiation process;
  • Recognise the economic concepts that are relevant to the different stages of the process;
  • Apply the concepts to real-life business and public sector situations;
  • Develop a complete demand management and supply management plan for an area of expenditure.


  • One 3hr exam (100%)