A theory of supplier network-based innovation value

Tingting Yan, Sophie Yang, Kevin Dooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


To understand how a supplier helps a buying company create value through innovations, studies have focused on a supplier's internal resources or its relationship with a buying company. Building upon this body of literature, we develop a theory of supplier network-based innovation value in this conceptual paper. This theory explains how a supplier's upstream and downstream value network can be a source of competitive advantage for a buying company. Specifically, it proposes that the levels and types of supplier innovation value is contingent on the configuration of a dual-ego value network, characterized by the locus and degree of buyer-supplier structural equivalence. This theory also explains how a supplier's ties with a buying firm's competitors can pose both opportunity and risk to buying company innovation. This theory contributes to the literature by showing when "seemingly undesirable" suppliers, due to a lack of technical capability or strong relationship with a buying company, might still be valuable to a buying company's innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Purchasing and Supply Management
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 7 2016


  • Buying company innovation
  • Customer network
  • Structural equivalence
  • Supplier innovation value
  • Supplier involvement
  • Supply network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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