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Organizing supplier interfaces in technological development

Frida Lind (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Lisa Melander (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 7 June 2019

Issue publication date: 26 June 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate supplier interfaces in technological development.


The theoretical framework is based on the industrial network approach and, in particular, the concept of supplier interfaces (standardized, specified, translational and interactive). The empirical study consists of a case study of a supplier relationship between an established truck manufacturer and one of its partners in technological development. This supplier relationship has its base in joint projects on developments in automation.


The empirical study provides evidence of three types of interfaces that are characteristic of technological development and discusses their development and how they are used in combination. The three types are follows: specified, translational and interactive. The conclusions show that developing an interface from specified to translational or interactive is challenging and technological development characterized by uncertainty may call for certain interfaces that are not of value in other settings, such as industrial production.


By applying the interface concepts to technological development in collaboration with suppliers and related identifying characteristic interfaces, this paper aims to extend the literature on how suppliers can be engaged in uncertain endeavours such as development projects.



Lind, F. and Melander, L. (2019), "Organizing supplier interfaces in technological development", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 5, pp. 1131-1142.



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