Knowledge management in offshoring innovation by SMEs: role of internal knowledge creation capability, absorptive capacity and formal knowledge-sharing routines

A Khraishi, A Paulraj, F Huq, C Seepana

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Abstract

Purpose – Despite the increased attention on knowledge management processes as important variables for firms to generate performance benefits within supply chain literature, little is known about how these variables could impact offshoring innovation (OI) relationships held by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Considering their growing importance, this study investigates the interplay between the internal knowledge creation capability, absorptive capacity, and formal knowledge routines in attaining OI performance benefits for SMEs.

Design/methodology/approach – Grounded in the knowledge-based view theory, this study forwards various hypotheses between the variables of interests. We test the hypotheses using survey data collected from 200 European SMEs that engage in offshore supplier relationships.

Findings – The findings suggest that internal knowledge creation capability is positively associated to absorptive capacity. Not only is absorptive capacity positively associated to OI performance outcomes but it also positively mediates the effect of internal knowledge creation capability on OI performance. Additionally, formal knowledge sharing routines negatively
moderate the relationship between absorptive capacity and OI performance.

Originality – Our study contributes to the supply chain as well as SMEs innovation literature by empirically showing that through enhanced internal knowledge creation capability, absorptive capacity goes beyond merely accessing and assimilating the supplier’s knowledge to achieve innovation gains. The results suggest that in order to succeed in gaining knowledge and subsequent performance benefits within OI, it is essential for SMEs to create and retain knowledge internally.

Keywords: SMEs, Offshoring, Outsourcing, Supply Chain Innovation, Knowledge Sharing, Absorptive Capacity, Knowledge Management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-422
Number of pages18
JournalSupply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume28
Issue number2
Early online date8 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Absorptive capacity
  • Knowledge management
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Offshoring
  • Outsourcing
  • SMEs
  • Supply chain innovation
  • Surveys

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