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The development of learning in a supply network during an upstream lean integration : a comparative case study

Oosterhout, Thomas van (2022) The development of learning in a supply network during an upstream lean integration : a comparative case study.

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Abstract:Purpose - The lean methodology has spread to more and more organizations as many benefits can be extracted from its implementation. Nowadays, the adoption of lean within an organization is seen as not enough, and organizations are spreading lean across their supply network. However, simply forcing the lean methodology to supply networks has proven to be ineffective, and in some cases counter-productive. Upstream lean integrations are more successful when they are paired with close collaboration and learning in a supply network. This study aimed to find out how learning happens during an upstream lean integration and what hinders and accelerating this learning. Methodology/research design - A comparative case study was conducted to answer the research question. Two cases were studied, both in the Dutch health care sector. One case exhibited a low level of lean adoption, whereas the other case was characterized by a high level of lean adoption. Mixed methods were used to gather data, employing both qualitative and quantitative methods with a sample size of 15. The sample consisted of two cases, each containing a buyer and its three suppliers. Findings – The cross-case analysis indicated that two phases of interorganizational learning are present. A first phase characterized by trial and error between buyer and its suppliers, followed by a phase characterized by autonomous learning and collaboration. The first phase seems to be positively influenced by transformational leadership, whereas the second is indicated to be positively impacted by the use of data-driven decision making. Future research – Further in-depth longitudinal studies validating the two phases of interorganizational learning and their connection to transformational leadership and data-driven decision making can prove to be interesting as today’s business environment desires to extract as many benefits from business relationships as possible.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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