CORVALLIS, Ore. - An article on the "co-opetitive" supply chain relationship dynamics structure by Zhaohui Wu, an assistant professor of management at Oregon State University, has been named the best paper of 2005 by the Journal of Operations Management.

Wu was presented his award for best paper by the Journal of Operations Management at the Academy of Management Conference in Atlanta on Aug. 14.

The Journal of Operations Management is the leading academic publication for that discipline. It gives out three top prizes each year for published articles. OSU is one of only two universities to have won first place twice in the journal's 20-year history.

Wu co-authored the paper along with Thomas Y. Choi of Arizona State University. Titled "Supplier-Supplier Relationships in the Buyer-Supplier Triad: Building Theories from Eight Case Studies," the article analyzes the effect of the relationships between suppliers on buyers. Wu and Choi conducted interviews in a two-year span with a broad range of companies, including aerospace, automotive, telecommunications and pharmaceutical concerns and more.

Wu's paper goes beyond the relationship between the buyer and a supplier and examines the buyer-supplier-supplier triad in supply chains. He has coined the word "co-opetitive" to describe relationship dynamics that speak both to collaboration and competitiveness.

"The relationship between two suppliers is delicate," Wu said. "You want them to collaborate and learn from each other. Meanwhile you want them to compete to take advantage of market efficiency. So basically this paper is about, how do you let competitors compete so you get the best cost, when you also want the suppliers to collaborate on product development and carry out seamless operations in a global supply chain?"

Wu said he already has started work on testing the theories developed in this paper. The empirical test is carried out in three divisions of a Fortune 100 company.

For more information on Wu's paper, go to

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Zhaohui Wu,