Title: Inter-organisational learning in the context of third party logistics services

Authors: Hokey Min; Soonhong Min; Haozhe Chen

Addresses: Department of Management, BAA 3008C, College of Business Administration, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403, USA ' Supply Chain and Operations Management, School of Business, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea ' College of Business, Iowa State University, 3183 Gerdin Business Building, 2167 Union Drive, Ames, IA 50011-2027, USA

Abstract: In this era of knowledge economy, knowledge can be a differentiator for the firm's business success. In this regard, the third-party logistics provider (3PL) is no exception in that it plays a critical role in funnelling information flows across firms in a supply chain as a logistics integrator. These information flows facilitate inter-organisational learning between the 3PL and its client firm. Organisational learning, however, may vary from operational to strategic decision-making hierarchy, which leads to either competitive parity or competitive advantage, respectively. Taking a dyadic perspective, this paper provides a conceptual framework theorising inter-organisational learning potential between a 3PL and its client firms. Within this framework, it posits that a firm's orientations toward logistics outsourcing and organisational learning together influence its business performance and competitiveness. This paper also develops a series of propositions regarding inter-organisational learning between the 3PL and its multiple client firms that can be a basis for future empirical studies and theory building. Based on these propositions, we may argue that an effective learning strategy of the 3PLs - in a proper combination of the firm's relationship orientation and learning orientation - is a key to the success of logistics outsourcing.

Keywords: third-party logistics; 3PL; organisational learning; knowledge transfer.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSOM.2018.092605

International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 2018 Vol.30 No.3, pp.267 - 285

Available online: 13 Jun 2018 *

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