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Supplier motivation to share knowledge: an experimental investigation of a social exchange perspective

Jie Chen (Faculty of Business, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
Xiande Zhao (China Europe International Business School, Shanghai, China)
Michael Lewis (School of Management, University of Bath, Bath, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 2 December 2022




This paper draws on social exchange theory to theorise supplier motivation to share knowledge. It examines the effects of supplier anticipated future dependence on their motivation to share knowledge with a buyer, mediated by economic, relational and learning motives. It also examines the conditional effects imposed by the current embeddedness of the relationship.


The study tested the proposed moderated mediation model using a scenario-based experimental method.


The results show that supplier anticipated future dependence increases their motivation to share knowledge, mediated by relational and learning motives. The results also show that current embeddedness has negative moderation effects on economic and learning but not relational motives.


The study deepens our understanding of supplier motivation to share knowledge as social exchange and offers insights on buyer-supplier relationship embeddedness.



The authors would like to thank the Editor and the Associate Editor for their guidance throughout the review process and three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.


Chen, J., Zhao, X. and Lewis, M. (2022), "Supplier motivation to share knowledge: an experimental investigation of a social exchange perspective", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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