This article relates to the debate on control in interorganizational relations. The article aims at providing an understanding of how bureaucratic mechanisms interrelate with market and social mechanisms in this setting, and the perspective of a dominated supplier is especially focused. The article is based on observation with complementary interviews of relations between an industrial customer and two of its suppliers.
The study shows restrictions put on the dominated suppliers from the customer, restrictions which from the suppliers' perspective motivate to question the efficiency of interorganizational, bureaucratic control. The suppliers' perceived need to adapt to the customers' routines is more motivated by a fear of challenging the customer than a concern for overall efficiency in the supply chain. The different mechanisms of governance operate in relation to each other. Mainly, market dominance creates space for hierarchical coordination. However, bureaucratic mechanisms do not suit every situation and social mechanisms enter - in some cases even to overrule bureaucratic mechanisms.