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An Empirical Assessment of Absorptive Capacity Configurations in Supply Chains

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Abstract

This study aims to investigate how supply chain partners develop absorptive capability in terms of three learning processes (exploration, assimilation and exploitation). We propose and empirically assess a taxonomy that classifies supply chain relationships based on differences in absorptive capacity. We also explore the performance implications of this taxonomy in 153 companies, operating as key suppliers of the same focal buyer. The results suggests that supply chain partners which develop absorptive capability in a relational context, not only have better levels of operational performance, but also create new ideas for the creation/development of innovative products.

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