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Collaboration support technologies in interorganizational relationships: an empirical exploration in buyer-supplier joint design activities

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First, the authors explore the conditions under which US and Japanese automakers use computer-aided design (CAD), a collaboration support technology, to coordinate their joint design activities with some suppliers but not others. They hypothesize greater use in relationships that most benefit from the technology's coordination enhancing capabilities. However, the investments in hardware and software, and in the human and social capital necessary to use CAD effectively introduce vulnerability into the relationship. Boundary permeability increases as suppliers gain electronic access to strategic information and knowledge. They therefore hypothesize that using CAD improves engineers perception of the quality of inter-firm coordination, and they anticipate an interaction effect between technology and task charasteristics. They test these hypotheses using origianl data from a sample of 194 relationships involving all automakers in the US and Japan. The results strongly support our hypothesese - in particular ou rprediction of a task-technology interaction. The impact of CAD use on interfirm coordination varies in a non-monotonic way with the level of routineness and analyzability of the joint design task. Finally, theoretical impications are discussed, as are some practical implications and limitations of the study.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp1999/99-78.pdf

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Copyright INSEAD. All rights reserved