Inter-organisational learning in the context of third party logistics services
by Hokey Min; Soonhong Min; Haozhe Chen
International Journal of Services and Operations Management (IJSOM), Vol. 30, No. 3, 2018

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.

Online publication date: Wed, 13-Jun-2018

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