Title: Exploiting supplier innovativeness through knowledge integration

Authors: Lars Bengtsson; Nicolette Lakemond; Mandar Dabhilkar

Addresses: University of Gävle, SE-801 76 Gävle, Sweden ' Linköping University, SE-58183 Linköping, Sweden ' Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Firms are increasingly involving and relying on networks of suppliers and other external partners in their innovation processes. A successful exploitation of suppliers' technology and competencies is however challenging, not least in situations characterised by technological uncertainty. The main purpose of this study is to analyse how supplier innovativeness may be leveraged through internal knowledge integration capabilities in involving suppliers. The analysis is based on a survey of firms in Europe and North America. The study shows that innovative suppliers do contribute to a firm's innovation performance in terms of time-to-market and level of innovation in products/services. The main result is that an internal knowledge integration capability in terms of proficiency in supplier management and cross-functional decision making boosts innovation performance, in particular when technological uncertainty is high.

Keywords: supplier innovation; sourcing; knowledge integration; purchasing proficiency; cross-functional decision making; technological uncertainty; innovation performance; supplier innovativeness; innovative suppliers; supplier management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2013.052669

International Journal of Technology Management, 2013 Vol.61 No.3/4, pp.237 - 253

Published online: 17 Mar 2013 *

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