Absorptive and desorptive capacity configurations in supply chains: An inverted U-shaped relationship
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AuthorRoldán Bravo, María Isabel; Stevenson, Mark; Ruiz Moreno, Antonia; Llorens Montes, Francisco J.
Desorptive capacityAbsorptive capacityDynamic capabilitiesKnowledge managementSupply chain
The extant literature has highlighted the importance of knowledge transfer between a buyer and its supply network for strengthening supply chain competence. This is a bi-directional exchange where the buyer and supply network each act as the sender and receiver of knowledge. Prior research has however largely focused on the knowledge recipient only. We consider both sender and recipient using two key dynamic capabilities related to knowledge transfer: desorptive capacity, which enables the safe transfer of knowledge from the sender; and, absorptive capacity, which enables the acquisition and assimilation of external knowledge by the recipient. Using the concept of ‘fit’, we investigate whether organizations strengthen supply chain competence when their desorptive capacity level exceeds that of their supply network´s (positive misfit) and consider the moderating role of the organization’s and supply network’s absorptive capacity. Based on multiple regression analysis of survey data from 250 firms, we find an inverted U-shaped relationship between positive desorptive capacity misfit and supply chain competence. Further, this relationship is shown to be moderated by the supply network’s level of absorptive capacity. The paper furthers our understanding of supply chain knowledge management enabling buyers and their supply networks to achieve more successful knowledge transfer outcomes.