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Supply chain learning and organizational performance: evidence from Chinese manufacturing firms

Muhammad Zia Ul Haq (Department of Business Administration, Air University Multan Campus, Multan, Pakistan)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 14 October 2020

Issue publication date: 24 May 2021




Despite the significance, no study examines the relationship between supply chain (SC) learning components and focal firm performance. This study aims to investigate different types of SC learning (supplier, customer and internal learning) and their influence on the focal firm’s operational and financial performance.


Grounded in knowledge-based view and absorptive capacity theory, this study applies structural equation modeling to test the conceptual model based on data collected from 213 manufacturing firms in China.


The findings indicate that supplier and customer learning improve internal learning. Customer and internal learning have direct influence on operational performance, whereas internal learning mediates the relationship between supplier learning and operational performance. Moreover, all three dimensions of SC learning do not affect financial performance directly but operational performance plays the mediating role in their relationship.

Research limitations/implications

This study only investigates SC learning outcomes without exploring its antecedents. In addition, SC learning and their impacts on firm performance are tested empirically with cross-sectional data collected only from manufacturing firms in China.

Practical implications

The findings furnish managers to seek for competitive advantages through different types of SC learning.


This study offers new insights concerning the performance implications of SC learning. It divides SC learning into dimensions and shows the distinctive impacts of these dimensions on focal firm’s performance using an empirical method.



Haq, M.Z.U. (2021), "Supply chain learning and organizational performance: evidence from Chinese manufacturing firms", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 943-972.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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