Interpartner learning, dependence asymmetry and radical innovation in customer-supplier relationships

Ruey Jer “Bryan” Jean, Jyh Shen Chiou, Rudolf R. Sinkovics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to explore how absorptive and joint learning can foster radical innovation. Furthermore, dependence asymmetry is investigated as a moderator of the effects of these factors on radical innovation. Radical innovation is an important source of any firm’s success. Yet, there has been a dearth of research in the literature on how different types of inter-partner learning cultivate the process of generating such innovation. Design/methodology/approach: The authors use a sample of 204 Taiwanese electronics suppliers to test the effects of joint learning and absorptive learning on radical innovation. The empirical analysis adopts a structural equations modeling approach. Findings: The authors find that a supplier’s joint learning has a stronger effect on radical innovation than its absorptive learning. However, when accounting for the moderating effect of dependence asymmetry, the analysis shows that absorptive learning does have a significant effect on radical innovation. The effect of joint learning on radical innovation is not moderated by the degree of dependence asymmetry. Practical Implications: This study broadens and deepens the understanding of how radical innovation by suppliers can be generated in customer–supplier relationships, and how this is shaped by the power-dependence structure. Originality/value: Inter-partner learning; radical innovation; power; dependence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-742
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2016


  • Innovation
  • Learning
  • Power
  • Value chain


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