Collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment (CPFR) as a relational contract: an incomplete contracting perspective

Sung Min Kim, Joseph T. Mahoney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyses collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment (CPFR) from an incomplete contracting perspective. In the absence of economic incentive problems, CPFR enables trading partners to improve operational efficiency through a structured process of learning by both sharing and utilising information across firm-level boundaries. From a review of the incomplete contracts literature and a case study of the CPFR arrangement between P&G and Wal-Mart, this paper posits CPFR as a relational contract for managing economic incentive problems, which can arise in a vertical supply relationship due to transaction costs, agency costs, and relative bargaining positions. Theoretical propositions are developed regarding when this IT-supported intermediate form of vertical contracting is preferred to other governance modes and how CPFR can be an effective relational contract to support economic exchange and to create intellectual capital between trading partners. With efficient vertical coordination and enhanced specialisation incentives for mutual commitment, CPFR allows contracting parties to avoid the difficulties of formal contracting while realising the benefits that would be anticipated from vertical financial ownership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-428
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • CPFR
  • Information sharing
  • Mutual commitment
  • Relational contract
  • Vertical integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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