Intangible Capital, Knowledge and New Product Development Competence in Supply Chains: Process, Interaction and Contingency Effects Among SMEs
International Journal of Production Research, Forthcoming
33 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 5, 2014
Leveraging the strengths of a firm’s supply chain partners for new product development (NPD) has become essential to satisfy rapidly changing customer demands and to remain competitive. Firms are therefore aiming to further their NPD competence, which we define as the ability of the supply chain to improve and generate new products and services, based on the processes and relationships established with suppliers and customers. This study examines how intangible capital and knowledge further the development of NPD competence within the context of a supply chain. A theoretical model, based upon resource-advantage (R-A) theory, is tested via structural equation modeling utilizing survey data collected from 195 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing industry reporting on their primary supply chain. Our findings indicate that more easily transferable capital manifests itself in explicit knowledge and less easily transferable capital manifests itself in tacit knowledge. We further identify complementarities of the two types of intangible capital as influencing knowledge type development. More importantly, we find that the two types of knowledge differ in their ability to influence NPD competence in the supply chain, and that these links are moderated by relationship length. Supply chain management implications for academics and practitioners are presented.
Keywords: new product development competence, supply chain management, intangible capital, explicit and tacit knowledge, resource-advantage (R-A) theory, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
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