Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyze the contribution of suppliers and the purchasing department in affecting a firm’s ability to innovate. Design/methodology/approach: The paper develops a theoretical framework (tested through an international survey on a sample of 524 companies) grounded on the resource-based view theory, innovation management and operations management literature. Findings: The results show that innovation is positively affected by supplier collaboration, which in turn is favored by purchasing absorptive capacity. Empirical evidence also shows that purchasing status and innovation objectives enable the development of greater absorptive capacity. Research limitations/implications: Because of the survey approach, the research results are limited to the data collected. Researchers are encouraged to verify propositions with complementary methodologies (e.g. case studies). Practical implications: The findings confirm the relevant role of the purchasing interface in innovation as well as the positive impact of supplier collaboration, contributing both to existing literature and managerial practice in terms of successful collaborative new product development (NPD) processes. Originality/value: The study integrates three different research fields (innovation, operations, and purchasing management), providing a synergistic vision on the topic and considering, as a unit of analysis, the purchasing category level (rather than the NPD project level).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)