The Trade-Off between Efficiency and Learning in Interorganizational Relationships for Product Development

Management Science, Vol. 47, No. 4, pp. 493-511, April 2001

19 Pages Posted: 17 May 2005

See all articles by Maurizio Sobrero

Maurizio Sobrero

University of Bologna - Department of Management

Edward B. Roberts

Founder/Chair, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship

Abstract

This paper analyzes the performance implications of interorganizational relationships in the development of technological innovations, focusing on the characteristics of the tasks partitioned between a manufacturer and its suppliers in the development of new products. We identify two critical dimensions: (1) the design scope and (2) the level of task interdependency. The design scope dimension characterizes the type of problem-solving activities outsourced by the manufacturer. The level of task interdependency dimension characterizes the influence of any given supplier-manufacturer interaction on other activities within an overall innovation process. Data analyses on 50 supplier-manufacturer relationships drawn from three new product development projects show that the type of problem-solving activities being partitioned and their level of interdependency with the rest of the project are important predictors of performance outcomes of the relationship, controlling for contractual differences. Further, the analyses demonstrate a clear trade-off between short-term efficiency-increasing and longer-term learning-enhancing outcomes.

Keywords: Product development, innovation, interorganizational relationships, efficiency, learning

JEL Classification: M11, O31, O32

Suggested Citation

Sobrero, Maurizio and Roberts, Edward B., The Trade-Off between Efficiency and Learning in Interorganizational Relationships for Product Development. Management Science, Vol. 47, No. 4, pp. 493-511, April 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=722472

Maurizio Sobrero (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

Via Capo di Lucca 34
40126 Bologna, Bologna 40126
Italy
+39 051 2098076 (Phone)

Edward B. Roberts

Founder/Chair, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship ( email )

100 Main Street, E62-440
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-4934 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
206
Abstract Views
1,242
rank
146,725
PlumX Metrics