Learning by Supplying

40 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2012

See all articles by Juan Alcacer

Juan Alcacer

Harvard University - Strategy Unit

Joanne E. Oxley

University of Toronto - Joseph L. Rotman School of Management

Date Written: April 20, 2012


Learning processes lie at the heart of our understanding of how firms build capabilities to generate and sustain competitive advantage: learning by doing, learning by exporting, learning from competitors, users, and alliance partners. In this paper we focus attention on another locus of learning that has received less attention from academics despite popular interest: learning by supplying. Using a detailed panel dataset on supply relationships in the mobile telecommunications industry, we address the following questions: What factors contribute to a firm’s ability to learn by supplying and build technological and market capabilities? Does it matter to whom the firm supplies? Is involvement in product design important, or is manufacturing the key locus of learning? How does a supplier’s initial resource endowment play into the dynamic? Our empirical analysis yields interesting findings that have implications for theory and practice, and that suggest new directions for future research.

Suggested Citation

Alcacer, Juan and Oxley, Joanne E., Learning by Supplying (April 20, 2012). Harvard Business School Strategy Unit Working Paper No. 12-093, Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 2101752, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2101752 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2101752

Juan Alcacer (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617 495-6338 (Phone)
617 495-0355 (Fax)

Joanne E. Oxley

University of Toronto - Joseph L. Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
416-978-0305 (Phone)

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