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Integrating supply chains: An investigation of collaborative knowledge transfers


  • Done, Adrian

    () (IESE Business School)


This paper aims to empirically investigate the impact upon performance of explicit knowledge transfer in the integrated supply chain between a manufacturer and its external suppliers and customers. Literature derived hypotheses were evaluated using International Manufacturing Strategy Survey data from 338 companies. Valid and reliable scales were created via confirmatory factor analysis, and effects upon inventory performance tested via regression techniques. Whilst knowledge transfers from upstream and downstream directions were positively related to a manufacturer's performance, knowledge derived from customers was more powerful. Furthermore, integrated knowledge transfer- the combination of knowledge emanating from both suppliers and customers- had the strongest link to performance. The implications for practioners are that integrating knowledge across supply chains could be more far reaching than the exchange of assets, data and information usually considered in supply chain literature. Furthermore the current generalized approach to managing external knowledge is inadequate. This study expands upon existing literature by including directional implications as to which knowledge inflows are most valuable. For academics, this paper supports and extends existing literature by considering the supplier-manufacturer-customer triad in unison. The focus goes beyond asset, data and information exchange towards the leveraging of external knowledge. Relevant perspectives and dimensions were adopted from the knowledge management stream in order to add conceptual depth. Several areas of knowledge-based supply chain research have been identified as potential opportunities for further investigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Done, Adrian, 2011. "Integrating supply chains: An investigation of collaborative knowledge transfers," IESE Research Papers D/896, IESE Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0896

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    Supply Chain; Knowledge Management; Empirical Research:;

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