The Influence of Customer Scope on Supplier Learning and Performance in the Japanese Automobile Industry
Most studies of Japanese supplier-automaker relationships have focused on the nature of the dyadic interfirm relationship and the performance of the assembler. We examine the relationship from the point of view of the supplier and argue that a broad “customer scope strategy” (i.e., number of customers) leads to superior performance, primarily because of learning opportunities. In addressing these learning opportunities, we draw attention to the important distinction between relation-specific and re-deployable knowledge and the complementary relationship between them. Our analysis of 125 Japanese suppliers supports the key argument that less exclusive ties may be a superior strategy. The argument has important implications for vertical integration and the structure of buyer-supplier relations.© 2002 JIBS. Journal of International Business Studies (2002) 33, 717–736
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Volume (Year): 33 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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