Unravelling supplier-laboratory knowledge spillovers: Evidence from Toyota’s central R&D laboratory and subsidiary R&D centers

Antony Potter, Antony Paulraj

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Abstract

R&D laboratories have made important contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge and the development of new products in many industries. Studies indicate that the success of a R&D laboratory depends upon its ability to frequently absorb knowledge from organizations within its supply network. Although research has examined knowledge spillovers between inventors, firms, universities, and public research laboratories, they have yet to be studied at the interface between an industrial R&D laboratory and its suppliers. Within this paper, we investigate how different supplier relationships influence the frequency of supplier-laboratory knowledge spillovers at Toyota’s central R&D laboratory. Our findings reveal that how the automaker configures its portfolio of supplier relationships has important ramifications for the frequency of supplier-laboratory knowledge spillovers. Specifically, we observe that concurrent sourcing relationships, single sourcing relationships, long-term relationships, alliance partner diversity, and supplier degree centrality have positive effects on the spill over of knowledge between a R&D laboratory and its suppliers. However, we identify that many of these supplier relationships only play an important role at Toyota’s central R&D laboratory, and do not influence knowledge spillovers at its subsidiary R&D centers around the world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-49
JournalResearch Policy
Volume[FT 50 Journal / ABS 4* Journal]
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Knowledge spillover
  • R&D laboratory
  • Automotive industry
  • Supplier relationships
  • Innovation
  • Patent
  • Supply Network

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