Capturing Supplier Knowledge in New Product Development: The Role of Trust
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Purpose – When manufacturing firms source components and subsystems from suppliers, the R&D – manufacturing interface becomes not only a company internal matter, but crosses organizational borders. Consequently, suppliers fulfill and important role in the interface between R&D and manufacturing as their knowledge needs to be accessed and used. Trust has been found to be important for integrating suppliers´ knowledge in new product development (NPD). This paper specifically investigates the role of trust for capturing supplier knowledge in NPD in different situations.
Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on qualitative case studies of two polar NPD collaborations at one company, in order to study the role of trust in different situations. Findings - Different types of trust promote different types of knowledge integration, either capturing supplier knowledge by accessing it or accumulating new knowledge by joint knowledge integration.
Practical implications - In order to manage the interface between suppliers and manufacturing firms, management has to consider the prerequisites provided by the type of trust and the requirements of the development project. When interfaces with suppliers need to be based on joint learning, a profound level of trust is necessary as the interface relies on interpersonal contacts between trustworthy individuals. In contrast, a basic level of trust is a prerequisite for an interface designed around a commercial deal. In this situation, technological interfaces might be adequate as supporting mechanisms.
Originality/value - The paper contributes and adds new insights to previous literature that emphasizes the importance of trust in NPD collaborations by distinguishing between different levels of trust in different interfaces with suppliers. It also bridges the gap between innovation and operations management, and clearly shows that the interface between R&D and manufacturing crosses organizational borders. Accessing and integrating suppliers’ knowledge is emphasized as an important challenge.
Trust, Knowledge integration, Supplier collaboration, New product development, Buyer-supplier interface
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-88027OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-88027DiVA: diva2:601351