Title: Transaction costs and organisational learning in strategic outsourcing relationships

Authors: Ernst Verwaal, Antonio J. Verdu, Arthur Recter

Addresses: Department of Strategic Management, RSM Erasmus University, P.O. Box 1738, NL-3000 DR, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. ' Miguel Hernandez University, Dpto. Estudios Economicos y Financieros, Avda. de la Universidad, s/n, 03202 Elche-Alicante, Spain. ' Marnixlaan 87, 3552 HC Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract: The present paper examines the role of organisational learning and transaction costs economics in strategic outsourcing decisions. Interorganisational learning is critical to competitive success, and organisations often learn more effectively by collaborating with other organisations. However, learning processes may also complicate the process of forming interorganisational partnerships which may increase transaction costs. Based on the literature, the authors develop refutable implications for outsourcing supply chain logistics and a sample of 121 firms in the supply chain logistics industry is used to test the hypotheses. The results show that trust and transaction costs are significant and substantial drivers of strategic outsourcing of supply chain logistics (a strategic flexibility action). Learning intent and knowledge acquisition have no significant influence on the decision to outsource supply chain logistics. The paper concludes with a discussion of the different and often conflicting implications for managing interorganisational learning processes.

Keywords: knowledge acquisition; organisational learning; strategic flexibility; supply chain management; SCM; transaction cost economics; strategic outsourcing; outsourcing relationships; collaboration; logistics; interorganisational learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2008.015983

International Journal of Technology Management, 2008 Vol.41 No.1/2, pp.38 - 54

Published online: 02 Dec 2007 *

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