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Beyond direct relationships: The curvilinear relationship between supplier dependence and innovation

Dong-Young Kim (Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 19 July 2019



The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether supplier dependence is related to innovation in supplier firms. Drawing on resource dependence theory, the authors hypothesized that supplier dependence has both positive and negative relationships to the quantity and quality of innovation.


The study is based on data collected from US companies. Negative binomial regression analysis was used to test the proposed hypothesis.


The authors found that the quantity of innovation of a supplier firm initially decreased and then increased with the extent of the dependence upon major customers. This finding supports the idea that the benefits of supplier dependence mitigate the negative outcomes of dependence upon major customers.


This study extends the literature on supplier dependence by empirically examining the relationship between supplier dependence and the quantity and quality of innovation within the context of high-technology industries. The authors provide a holistic understanding of the value of the dependent relationship in boosting innovation in the context of supply chain management.



The author is particularly grateful to the Editor-in-Chief, Harm-Jan Steenhuis and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and insightful suggestions. The author thanks Pengcheng Zhu for his feedback on a previous version of this paper and help in collecting data. This research was supported by the UNF Presidential Faculty Leader Fund and the Coggin College of Business Endowed Professorship Fund.


Kim, D.-Y. (2019), "Beyond direct relationships: The curvilinear relationship between supplier dependence and innovation", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 392-412.



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