“Knowledge Sharing between Competing Suppliers: The Role of Customers”

This article examines the drivers of knowledge sharing in collaborations between two suppliers that compete and serve a common customer. In such triadic relationships, suppliers’ assessments of the anticipated benefits and risks (such as knowledge spillover) from the collaboration drive their knowledge sharing. One approach that could mitigate the risk of spillover is involvement of the customer as a neutral third-party monitor. The study examines the role of monitoring and enforcement of agreements by the customer in suppressing opportunism and promoting suppliers’ knowledge sharing, and tests these ideas using data from a scenario-based experiment with executive MBAs and a survey of top executives in the automotive and optics industries. Results support a three-way interaction of perceived benefits, spillover risks, and customer monitoring on knowledge sharing. Specifically, when the risk of knowledge spillover is high, suppliers rely on customer monitoring as a safeguard, resulting in increased motivation to share knowledge with their partner. In contrast, when the risk of knowledge spillover is low, customer monitoring generates reactance from the suppliers, leading to lower levels of motivation to share knowledge. This research suggests that the customer’s scrutiny of supplier behaviors in collaborations can be a double-edged sword.

Friday, Oct. 15, 2010 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Peter B. Lewis Building, RM 218
11119 Bellflower Road
Cleveland, OH 44106-7235
United States
Speaker(s): Shankar Ganesan
Sponsored by: Department of Marketing & Policy Studies

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