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The Institutional Context and Manufacturing Performance: The Case of the U.S. Defense Industrial Network

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  • Maryellen R. Kelley
  • Cynthia R. Cook

Abstract

U.S. manufacturing firms that make sophisticated weapons systems for the Pentagon are subject to an unusual regulatory regime that obligates them to volunteer' information on their business practices to the government and to prime contractors as a condition of their special relationship with the government. Within this organizational community information sharing with and assistance to other firms have come to be viewed as an ordinary obligation - i.e., a condition of citizenship. This cooperative learning environment is indicative of a collaborative manufacturing network that enables member organizations to learn quickly about relevant process technology innovations and to implement them effectively. We find that defense contractors learn about information technology applications more quickly than enterprises outside the network. Moreover, learning advantages are not confined to transactions specific to the Pentagon, but benefit the non-military operations of the networked enterprises as well.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6460.

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Date of creation: Mar 1998
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6460

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  1. Griliches, Zvi, 1992. " The Search for R&D Spillovers," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(0), pages S29-47, Supplemen.
  2. Teece, David J., 1992. "Competition, cooperation, and innovation : Organizational arrangements for regimes of rapid technological progress," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-25, June.
  3. Glasmeier, Amy, 1991. "Technological discontinuities and flexible production networks: The case of Switzerland and the world watch industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 469-485, October.
  4. Linda Argote & Sara L. Beckman & Dennis Epple, 1990. "The Persistence and Transfer of Learning in Industrial Settings," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(2), pages 140-154, February.
  5. Paul S. Adler & Kim B. Clark, 1991. "Behind the Learning Curve: A Sketch of the Learning Process," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(3), pages 267-281, March.
  6. Mowery, David C. & Langlois, Richard N., 1996. "Spinning off and spinning on(?): the federal government role in the development of the US computer software industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 947-966, September.
  7. Maryellen R. Kelley, 1994. "Productivity and Information Technology: The Elusive Connection," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(11), pages 1406-1425, November.
  8. Zvi Griliches, 1988. "Hedonic Price Indexes and the Measurement of Capital and Productivity: Some Historical Reflections," NBER Working Papers 2634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. John MacDuffie, 1995. "Human resource bundles and manufacturing performance: Organizational logic and flexible production systems in the world auto industry," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(2), pages 197-221, January.
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