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Ambidextrous Learning in Buyer-Supplier Relationships

OAI: DOI: 10.4018/IJISSCM.290355
Published by: IGI Global


Achieving competitive advantage in a dynamic environment requires firms to exploit their current capabilities and explore new opportunities through innovation. Organizational learning theory refers to these two types of focused learning activities as exploitation and exploration, and jointly as ambidextrous learning. Suppliers can play an important role in the learning process. This research focuses on the role of strategic and operational information sharing between buyers and suppliers in promoting ambidextrous learning. Based on a survey of supply chain managers in U.S. manufacturing firms, the findings indicate that sharing operational information promotes exploitative performance, while sharing strategic information promotes exploratory performance. Both exploitative and exploratory performance improvements positively relate to the buyer’s financial performance, but these relationships are moderated by the buyer’s product innovation strategy. Exploratory performance is particularly important for firms pursuing a high innovation strategy to maximize financial performance.