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J. Service Science & Management, 2009, 2: 329-333 doi:10.4236/jssm.2009.24039 Published Online December 2009 (www.SciRP.org/journal/jssm) Copyright © 2009 SciRes JSSM 329 The Dynamic Multi-Task Supply Chain Principal-Agent Analysis Shanliang LI1,2, Chunhua WANG3, Daoli ZHU1 1Management School, Fudan University, Shanghai, China; 2Management School, Soochow University, Suzhou, China; 3Information School, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, China. Email: Lisl@fudan.edu.cn Received August 18, 2009; revised September 25, 2009; accepted November 5, 2009. ABSTRACT In the supply chain by the composition of the supplier and the retailer, the supplier offers products to the retailer for sales while the retailer affects the sales outcome by his effort which is divided into two dimensions. One is for the short-term sales task and th e other is for the long-term sales task. Fo r the long-term development of the enterprise, the supplier wants to inspire th e retailer to make more effort for the long-term task. However, due to the asymmetric infor- mation, the supplier can’t observe the retailer’s action and the moral hazard will come into being. To deal with this problem, we construct the dynamic multi-task supply chain principal-agent model, by which we analyze the impact of the information asymmetry to the supply chain contract. Furthermore, by comparing the contracts between the sin- gle-term multi-task and two-term multi-task, we have analyzed their different effect on the commission rate. Keywords: Supply Chain Management, Multi-task Principal-agent, Dynamic Incentive, Moral Hazard 1. Introduction In the supply chain system, there exists the conflict be- tween the local interests of the supply chain members and the overall performance of the supply chain, which leads to the system inefficiency. At present, one of the most important research areas of supply chain is to de- sign the suitable coordination mechanism in order to ob- tain the global optimization of the supply chain per- formance. In this process, the information plays a very important position. As the supply chain members tend to hide their private information to maintain information superiority, this will lead to “Adverse Select” and “Moral Hazard” in various fields [1]. In the recent decade, scholars have studied on the issue of the supply chain coordination from various angles. These studies can be roughly divided into two categories. One is to resolve the “double marginalization” problem by contract design in the situation of the full information [2–4]. Such contracts do not involve the information in- centive. The other is to study the supply chain incentive problem in the situation of the asymmetric information. Corbett etc. studied that the optimal quantity discounts incentive contract between the supplier and the retailer [5]. Basu etc. studied the incentive issues of the sales force under asymmetric information based on agency theory [6]. Lal etc. [7,8] and Chen [9] extended the above studies. Many Chinese academics are also carried out research on this issue [10–14]. For the supply chain co- ordination, the author’s research team had a systemic research on the issue earlier. Some relevant research re- sults have been published [15–22]. This paper is the im- portant one of the systemic study. In the simple princi- pal-agent model, the agent is engaged in one job and the agent’s effort is one-dimensional. However in many cases of the real life, agents are engaged in the job of more than one. Or, even if there is only one job, it in- volves more than one dimension. Furthermore, it exits conflict in the distribution of the same agent’s energy between the different jobs. To deal with this problem, we construct the dynamic multi-task supply chain princi- pal-agent model, by which we analyze the impact of the information asymmetry to the supply chain contract. Furthermore, by comparing the contracts between the single-term multi-task and two-term multi-task, we ana- lyzed their different effect on the commission rate. 2. Assumptions and Parameters Set We make the following assumptions for the tractable analysis. Considering a Stackelberg model between a su- pplier S who is the principal and a retailer R who is the agent, the supplier offers the retailer products to sale and pays the retailer according to sales outcome which is The Dynamic Multi-Task Supply Chain Principal-Agent Analysis 330 affected by the retailer’s effort and the random factors. Set is the retailer’s expected profit whose own- ership belongs to the supplier. denotes the retailer’s effort for the short sales goal. denotes the retailer’s effort for the long sales goal. denotes the cost of the retailer’s effort, satisfying 112 (,Baa) 1 a 2 a (,Ca 12 )a 1,2 0 C a ， 2 2 1,2 0 C a ， i.e. the cost of the effort increases and the marginal cost increases. For the simplicity, Assume 22 12 12 (,Ca 2 a )22 aa a. The supplier can’t observe and , but can observe and verify the sales outcome x, which is affected by the retailer’s effort together with the random variables, de- noted by 1 a 12 (, )xaa , where 1 (,aa 2 ) is the out- put function of the effort, satisfying 1, a2 0 , which means the marginal sales outcome of the effort is positive. i.e. more efforts mean more sales; 2 2 1,2 0 a , which mea- ns marginal sales outcome decrease (When the equal sign is set up, marginal sales unchanged). Set 12 ,() T 12 ,() , which is the random variable of Normal distribution and satisfy ; Set 22 12 , ;0, ;)Nr (0T x x x, For the sake of simplifying the calculating, assume that 11 ()xa 111 a 2 ; 2222 a()ax 1 . i.e. dif- ferent efforts result in different information (However, different information may be relevant if and 2 are relevant. ): 1 x reflects ， 1 a2 x reflects . The owner- ship of the sales profits belongs to the supplier, and the supplier offers the linear salary to pay the retailer. 2 a 1122 () T x xsx x (1) where () s x is the wage paid to the retailer if the total sales outcome is x . denotes the one-off wealth transfer which doesn’t affect the incentive intension （Called Salary）; 12 (,) T which denotes the incentive intension（Called Commission Rate）, that means if x increase by one unit , the wage of the re- tailer increased by unit. 3. The Single-Stage Multi-Task Model In the single-stage model, the supplier offers a one-time wage schedule, () s x, according to which the retailer is rewarded. Assume the supplier is risk-neural, the ex- pected utility function is as follows: 12 12 1211 22 ,) (,) ( (,) T SaEa Ba EB a a aa U Assume the retailer is risk-averse, and the utility is that () x Vx e , where is the risk aversion coef- ficient. When 0 , the retailer is risk-neural. When 0 , the retailer is risk-averse. When 0 , the retailer is risk preference. The retailer’s expected util- ity is as follows: 12 (()( ,)) R EUEVsC aax (3) To make the analysis simple, we use the certainty equivalent (CE) instead of the expected utility of the retailer [18]. 12 12 1 (, )(, ) 2 T RT aaC aCaE (4) where is the expected wage, 12 (, ) Taa is risk aversion coefficient, T is the income variance, is the risk cost. is the covariance matrix of /2 T 1 and 2 , denoted by 2 112 2 12 2 , , r r . The supplier is the leader in the Stackelberg model, who has first-step advantage in the game. However, when he/she pursuits the profit maximization, he/she must consider the incentive compatibility constraint and participation constraint. Thus, the principal-agent model between the supplier and the retailer can be rewritten as the following optimization p rogramming. 1211 22 ,, () (,) aS PMax aaBaEaU (5) 112 2 222 112 112 12 22 12 2 .. (IR) ,, 1() 22 , R saa ra E r C a t 0 2 (6) 12 , (IC) argmax R aaCE (7) where (6) is participation constraint (IR), and (7) is in- centive compatibility constraint (IC). 3.1 The Full Information Benchmark In this section, let’s begin with the full information case where the retailer’s effort is observable and verifiable. Then the supplier can assign an effort level to the retailer by designing a forcing contact. Under this condition, the incentive compatibility (7) is invalid and we only con- sider the participation constraint (6), which is binding. Namely, can be rewritten as follows: ()P 1211 22 ,, () Max( .. , 0 ) aS R aPUBa sC a tE a (8) a (2) Copyright © 2009 SciRes JSSM The Dynamic Multi-Task Supply Chain Principal-Agent Analysis Copyright © 2009 SciRes JSSM 331 3.2 The Asymmetric Information Case Solving , we can obtain that: ()P Generally, the supplier can’t observe the retailer’s action , and only can observe outcome a x . In this case, the incentive compatibility constraint (7) is valid. Substitut- ing (7) by the first-order condition, we can obtain the equivalent programming. i.e. (7) is equal to that 1212 1 11 122 2 2 1 2 ,) ,) ,) ( (, ( () BaCa a aa BaCa a aa a a a a (9) 1 22 a a 1 (10) The Equation (9) is the class condition of the Pareto optimality: the expected marginal profit of the effort is equal to the expected marginal cost. That is similar to the single-task case. We have the following conclusion. Solving the model ()P Proposition 1：Under the condition of full information, by designing the linear incentive contract, the game be- tween the supplier and the retailer can achieve the Pareto optimality when t he retailer has m ulti -dimensional effort. 222 112 112 121 22 ,2 12 2 , (, 1 ,) (,) 22 r Max Baaa ar 2 Substituting by (10), we get 22 2222 12 1 211121222 , 1() 2 (, )(222 )Max Br (11) Solve the first order derivative of (13), (14) about 1 , obtain 2 11212 1 1 1)(2 2 (2 Br )0 (12) Solving the above equation, we obtain that 1212 12 1 1 Br (13) Similarly, we get 112 22 2 2 (A) 1 r B (14) By (13), (14), we get the following conclusion. Proposition 2： When0 , the retailer is risk-neural, then ii （ ），whic h m eans the gam e can get the Pareto optimization just as the full information case. When ii BC a a 1, 2i 0 ,i （ ）is in inverse ratio with 1, 2i , the risk aversion coefficient will reduce the incentive intensity i ; i （）is in inverse ratio with variance 1, 2i 2 i （ ）; in inverse ratio with the Co- variance 1, 2i 12 r ，i.e. the random factors also reduce the incentive intensity of i . 1 is also in inverse ratio with 2 . More 2 means less 1 , and vice versa. 4. Two-Stage Multi-Task Game Model In the two-stage multi-task model, suppose the retailer’s effort for the long task in the first stage will affect the profit in the second stage of the supply chain. Set denotes the expected effort profit of the first stage of the retailer，denotes the ex- pected profit of the second stage. Where and denote the effort for the short task and long task respec- tively. Because the effort in the first stage will affect the profit in the second stage, it will be the variable of the output function of the second stage. The ownership of and belongs to the supplier, the supplier offers the wage schedule according to the two-stage outcome. Similarly to the assumption of one- stage, the observed outcome in the second stage is that 2 a 2 )a 11 (,Ba 221222 (,,)Ba aa 2 a 222 ,)a a 12345 ,,,,) 21 a22 a 112 (, )Baa 221 (,Ba 2( T x xxxxx 1 (15) where11 xa 222 xa , , 3213 xa , 422 xa 452 xa 5 . Assume 345 T (,,) 2 ) , , which is the random variable in the second stage, Inde- pendent with 1 (, T 11 22 () xa , the random variable in the first stage. The supplier offers the two-stage payoff con- tract according the observed outcome as follows. 1122 3344 x x xx 55 ()s s x x 222 21 ()( ,,xB aaa 2 1 )Es (16) The supplier’s expected utility is that: 211 2 (, ()a ax)Es S EU B (17) Now, the certainty equivalent of the retailer in the first stage and the second stage is that 2 1 a 2 12 22 1 2 RT CE a 11 22 a 1a (18) 22 2 R CE 21 22 23221 1 1 222 Taa 4 5221 a a a 12 2 (19) The Dynamic Multi-Task Supply Chain Principal-Agent Analysis 332 where is covariance matrix 1 3 ，4 and 5 . De- noted by 2 1112213 2 1122 323 2 213 3233 1 ,, ,, ,, r r rr r r (20) For obtaining the retailer’s optimal effort of the second stage, solve 21 22 , 2 argmax R aa CE , and get 21 3 22 4 a a (21) Considering the participation constraint and incentive compatibility constraint, the supplier need solve the fol- lowing program m i ng: 21 11 2221 222 1 , 12 2 () MaxE(,)(,,) .. 0 (IC) argmax (IR) s s P a PUBaaEBaaa s tCECE CE CE E (22) Instead （IC） in (22) by the first-order condition and substitute by (10), (21), Solve the programming P and get 22 2222 12 11211121222 22 223113412235121 23 22 134124 234523 2351334523 2 1 (, )(2) 2 1 (,,) [( 2 + + Baa r Ba aarr rr rr 2 2 22 22 34 53 )+ 22 ] (23) Solve 1 by derivate (23) about 1 and get 2 12 11 11 212 (1 )0 Br B (24) 2212 1 1 1 1 1 12 1 r BB a (25) Solve 2 by derivate (23) about 2 and get 2 12 22 112 22 (1 )0 Br B (26) 12 112 22 22 2 2 (B) 1 r BB a (27) Because doesn’t involve the vari- able , 2221 22 (,,)Ba aa 1 a2 10 B . The Equation (13) is the same to the Equation (25). Comparing (14) with (27), because 2 0 B , it is evident . Thus, we have the fol- lowing conclusion. B>A Proposition 3: By designing dynamic multi-task con- tract, the supplier can inspire the retailer to pay more effort for the long-term goal without the premise of cha- nging the retailer’s effort for the short goal. It shows that the dynamic contract design is conducive to maintain the long-term supply chain partnership. 5. Conclusions The supply chain contract design is the important means of the supply chain coordination. For different environ- ment, it will greatly improve the level of supply chain collaboration by the design of appropriate contract. In this paper, we have studied the incentive contract be- tween the supplier and the retailer. Because of asymmet- rical information, the supplier can’t observe the effort level of the retailer. Therefore, the supplier can only in- spire the retailer’s different effort level by the incentive mechanisms design. The major study of the paper is on how to design the dynamic incentive contract to stimu- late retailers to pay more efforts for the long-term under asymmetric information and multi-task environment, which has the guiding role for establishing the supply chain dynamic alliance. At the same time, our study ex- tends the existing research results of the principal-agent. In our research work, for the sake of simplifying the technical analysis and the calculating, we focused on the second-term multi-task game. In the future, we will ex- tend our research to multi-term multi-task model, which would be challenging and meaningful. 6. Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the referees for their helpful suggestions. 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