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Supplier collaboration practices: implications for focal firm innovation performance

Anni-Kaisa Kähkönen (School of Business and Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland)
Katrina Lintukangas (School of Business and Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland)
Paavo Ritala (School of Business and Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland)
Jukka Hallikas (School of Business and Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Due to the increasing complexity in supply chains and networks, several key practices have been highlighted as beneficial for supply chain performance. However, it is less known whether adopting such practices affects the innovation performance of the focal firm. This study hypothesises that supplier collaboration practices in four specific areas (green and ethical supply management, early supplier involvement, systemic purchasing and inter-firm learning) may lead to higher focal firm innovation performance, as they require the firm to adopt new business models, processes and product features.

Design/methodology/approach

The hypotheses drawn from previous research are tested with a quantitative survey study of 165 Finnish firms and analysed by means of regression analysis.

Findings

The results show that two examined practices are positively related to focal firm innovation performance: systemic purchasing and green and ethical supply management. Interestingly, early supplier involvement and inter-firm learning did not influence innovation performance.

Originality/value

Little is known about whether adopting certain practices in supply management affects the innovation performance of the firm. In fact, among the performance indicators of supply management, innovation is rarely studied, and more studies using innovation as a performance indicator are called for. Thus, this study focuses on supplier collaboration practices and their relation to the focal firm’s innovation performance.

Keywords

Citation

Kähkönen, A.-K., Lintukangas, K., Ritala, P. and Hallikas, J. (2017), "Supplier collaboration practices: implications for focal firm innovation performance", European Business Review, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 402-418. https://doi.org/10.1108/EBR-04-2016-0058

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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