Inter‐organizational governance, learning and performance in supply chains

Miguel Hernández‐Espallardo (Marketing Department, School of Economics and Business, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain)
Augusto Rodríguez‐Orejuela (Department of Management and Organizations, School of Administration, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia)
Manuel Sánchez‐Pérez (Business Management Department, School of Economics and Business, University of Almeria, Almeria, Spain)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Publication date: 16 March 2010



Inter‐firm knowledge sharing and learning constitute one of the main avenues to improve supply chains' performance in today's business environment. This paper aims to examine how effective different governance mechanisms are in promoting knowledge transfer, learning and performance in supply chains.


Following on from the literature in inter‐organizational learning, transaction costs economics, business‐to‐business relational marketing, and supply chain management, a model is presented and tested using structural equations modeling. Data were collected from 219 Colombian apparel manufacturers.


This paper finds that from more influential to less, social mechanisms of governance, hostages and behavioral control favor knowledge sharing, learning and performance in supply chains. Output control exerts a negative influence on learning in supply chains.

Research limitations/implications

Governance has a key role in promoting transparency and learning in supply chains. Future research should analyze whether it impacts on the firms' learning intent.

Practical implications

Knowledge sharing and learning have a positive influence on the supply chain's performance. Results of the study suggest that the supply chain's competitiveness lies in the adequate governance of the interfirm relationships, i.e. by using trust, hostages and behavioral control to support knowledge exchange.


Compared with studies that limit their analysis to the impact of one specific type of governance mechanism, generally trust, the paper for the first time jointly examines the role of several types of governance on knowledge‐sharing in supply chains, on learning and on performance. This allows a comparison of the different mechanisms in terms of their safeguarding and coordination role.



Hernández‐Espallardo, M., Rodríguez‐Orejuela, A. and Sánchez‐Pérez, M. (2010), "Inter‐organizational governance, learning and performance in supply chains", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 101-114.

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