Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Dr. G. Peter Zhang

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Keil

Third Advisor

Dr. Yusen Xia


Minority business enterprises (MBEs) are among the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. economy and are vital to the nation’s growth and prosperity. Supplier diversity is a strategic procurement initiative implemented by large purchasing organizations (LPOs) to identify, support, and promote diverse supplier partnerships. When LPOs partner with MBEs as strategic suppliers, MBEs are enabled to scale, which can create positive stakeholder value, particularly in underserved communities. However, many LPO and MBE relationships do not realize their full potential in generating mutual value. Contrary to prior supplier diversity research, which has primarily focused on the LPO buyer perspective, this dissertation sheds light on the MBE supplier perspective through three research aims: first, reveal the perceptions that MBEs have regarding the efficacy of supplier diversity program; second, understand the relationship facets that underlie mutual beneficial outcomes in the LPO-MBE dyad; third, explore the impact that enabled MBEs can have on its key stakeholders. Drawing on Social Exchange Theory and Stakeholder Theory, this study uses a multi-case study method to develop a conceptual framework that illustrates how the partnerships between LPOs and MBEs can affect stakeholders, catalyzing a virtuous cycle of growth. This research finds that MBEs have not generally benefitted from supplier diversity programs, yet MBEs believe that these programs are more relevant and vital today than before. The study concludes that an MBE’s differentiated business strategy, strong performance, shared values between MBEs and LPOs, and effective interfirm communications are antecedents to relationship trust and commitment, enabling the MBEs to grow to scale and benefiting their stakeholders. The study has important implications for theory and practice, revealing how MBEs can be a catalyst helping move the U.S. closer towards economic equality and inclusion.


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