Supplier innovativeness and the role of interorganizational learning in enhancing manufacturer capabilities

Arash Azadegan, Kevin Dooley, Phillip L. Carter, Joseph R. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Manufacturers increasingly rely on innovation from their suppliers to improve the cost, quality, and timeliness of their products. Manufacturing capabilities are enhanced by supplier innovativeness directly, because of the embedded nature of the supplied component, and indirectly, as the manufacturer learns from its suppliers. We use organizational learning theory to develop a conceptual model of learning factors that act as contingencies and magnify the effect of supplier innovativeness. First, we argue that a manufacturer's absorptive capacity, its ability to learn and use external knowledge, positively moderates the impact of supplier innovativeness on the manufacturer's performance. Second, we examine how different combinations of manufacturer-supplier learning styles lead to relatively more or less interorganizational learning, contingent upon whether the outsourcing is design versus manufacturing oriented. Our model can help managers consider knowledge transfer as part of their supplier selection criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-35
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Supply Chain Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


  • Absorptive capacity
  • Exploitation
  • Exploration
  • Innovativeness
  • Organizational learning
  • Supplier selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Marketing


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