Click here to download

Innovation processes in the automotive suppliers’ network: internal resources and inter-firm relationships
Journal Title: SOCIOLOGIA DEL LAVORO  
Author/s: Anna Moretti, Francesco Zirpoli 
Year:  2017 Issue: 147 Language: Italian 
Pages:  22 Pg. 128-149 FullText PDF:  159 KB
DOI:  10.3280/SL2017-147007
(DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation:  clicca qui   and here 


From an initial enthusiasm towards benefits of inter-organizational relationships aimed at co-engineering components and systems, the literature started highlighting that the choice of basing innovation processes on external sources, in order to be successful in the long term, needs to be associated with the development of internal competences and sophisticated inter-organizational practices. The study presented in this article analyzes the development of vertical relationships in the Italian automotive industry. In line with international practices, the Italian supplychain has developed following a hierarchical and multi-level logic. Nevertheless, it seems to lack the ability to exploit all advantages of distributed innovation. The study identifies two main reasons, connected to each other: 1) the scarce qualification of human resources, which makes difficult to improve internal innovation activities; 2) the limited reliance on external sources of innovation, with the consequent impossibility to exploit synergies offered by client-supplier relationships.
Keywords: Inter-firm relationships, networks, innovation, automotive

  1. Becker M., Zirpoli F. (2003a). Knowledge integration in new product development: the FIAT case. International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 3, 1-2: 30-46., DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2003.003379
  2. Becker M., Zirpoli F. (2003b). Organizing new product development Knowledge hollowing-out and knowledge integration. The FIAT Auto case. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 23, 9: 1033-1061., DOI: 10.1108/01443570310491765
  3. Brusoni S., Prencipe A., Pavitt K. (2001). Knowledge specialization, organization coupling, and the boundaries of the firm: Why do firms know more than they make? Administrative Science Quarterly, 46, 4: 597-625., DOI: 10.2307/3094825
  4. Brusoni S., Prencipe A. (2001). Unpacking the Black Box of Modularity: Technologies, Products and Organizations. Industrial & Corporate Change, 10, 1: 179-205.
  5. Calabrese G., Erbetta F. (2004). Outsourcing and firm performance: evidence from Italian automotive suppliers. Paper presented at the 13th Annual IPSERA Conference, Catania.
  6. Calabrese G., Coccia M., Rolfo S. (2002). Analisi del processo innovativo nelle PMI italiane. Working Paper Ceris-Cnr, n. 11, Torino.
  7. Calderini M., Cantamessa M. (1997). Innovation paths in product development: an empirical research. International Journal of Production Economics, 51, 1-2: 1-17., DOI: 10.1016/S0925-5273(97)00076-5
  8. Chesbrough H.W. (2003). Open Innovation. New York: Free Press.
  9. Chesbrough H.W., Kusunoki K. (2001). The modularity trap: Innovation, Technology Phases Shifts and the Resulting Limits of Virtual Organisations. In: Nonaka I., Teece D.J., eds., Managing Industrial Knowledge. London: Sage: 202-230.
  10. Clark K.B., Fujimoto T. (1991). Product Development performance. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
  11. Cohen W.M., Levinthal D.A. (1990). Absorptive Capacity: A New Perspective on Learning and Innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35, 1: 128-152., DOI: 10.2307/2393553
  12. Dillman D.A. (1991). The design and administration of mail surveys. Annual Review of Sociology, 17: 225-249.
  13. Dillman, D.A. (2000). Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design method, vol. 2. New York: Wiley.
  14. Dyer J. (1996). Specialized Supplier Networks as a Source of Competitive Advantage: Evidence from the Auto Industry. Strategic Management Journal, 17: 271-291.
  15. Dyer J. (1998). Strategic Supplier Segmentation: The Next “Best Practice” in Supply Chain Management. California Management Review, 40, 2: 57-77., DOI: 10.2307/41165933
  16. Enrietti A., Follis M., Whitford J. (2003). Rapporti cooperativi nella catena di fornitura automobilistica: la “Crescita guidata” di Fiat Auto in una prospettiva comparata. In: Bonazzi G., Negrelli S., a cura di, Impresa senza confini. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  17. Fine C.H., Whitney D.E. (1996). Is the make-buy decision process a core competence?, April (unpublished manuscript).
  18. Fondazione COTEC (2016). Rapporto annuale sull’innovazione 2016. Roma.
  19. Fowler F.J. (2013). Survey research methods. London: Sage.
  20. Gulati R., Nohria N., Zaheer A. (2000). Strategic networks. Strategic Management Journal, 21, 3: 199-201.
  21. Helper S., MacDuffie J. (1997). Creating Lean Suppliers: Diffusing lean production through the supply chain. Californian Management Review, 39, 4: 118-151., DOI: 10.2307/41165913
  22. Helper S. (1991a). Strategy and Irreversibility in Supplier Relations: The Case of the U.S. Business History Review, 65: 781-824., DOI: 10.2307/3117265
  23. Helper S. (1991b). How Much Has Really Changed between U.S. Automakers and Their Suppliers? Sloan Management Review, Summer: 15-28.
  24. Iansiti M., Clark K.B. (1994). Integration and Dynamic Capability: Evidence from Product Development in Automobiles and Mainframe Computers. Industrial and Corporate Change, 3, 3: 557-605.
  25. Jacobides M.G., Billinger S. (2006). Designing the boundaries of the firm: From ‘make, buy, or ally’ to the dynamic benefits of vertical architecture. Organization Science, 17, 2: 249-261.
  26. Jacobides M., Knudsen T., Augier M. (2006). Benefiting from innovation: value creation, value appropriation and the role of industry architectures. Research Policy, 35, 8: 1200-1221.
  27. Kamath R.R., Liker J.K. (1994). A Second Look at Japanese Product Development. Harvard Business Review, November-December: 154-170.
  28. Lamming R. (1993). Beyond Partnership. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
  29. Langlois R. (2002). Modularity in technology and organization. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 49, 1: 19-38., DOI: 10.4337/9781843767107.00009
  30. Lee J., Berente N. (2012). Digital Innovation and the Division of Innovative Labor: Digital Controls in the Automotive Industry. Organization Science, 23, 5: 1428-1447.
  31. Liker J.K., Kamath R.R., Wasti S.N., Nagamachi S.N. (1995). Integrating Suppliers into Fast-Cycle Product Development. In: Liker J.K., Ettlie J.E., Campbell J.C., eds., Engineered in Japan. New York: Oxford University Press.
  32. Liker J.K., Kamath R.R., Wasti S.N., Nagamachi M. (1996). Supplier involvement in automotive component design: are there really large US Japan differences? Research Policy, 25: 59-89., DOI: 10.1016/0048-7333(95)00826-8
  33. Lincoln J.R., Ahmadjian C.L., Mason E. (1998). Organizational Learning and Purchase-Supply Relations in Japan: Hitachi, Matsushita and Toyota Compared. California Management Review, 40: 241-264., DOI: 10.2307/41165953
  34. MacDuffie J.P. (2008). Technological and Organizational Barriers to Modularity: Persistent Integrality in the Global Automotive Industry. Philadelphia: Wharton.
  35. Maxton G., Wormald J. (2004). Time for a Model Change: Re-engineering the Global Automotive Industry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  36. Nishiguchi T. (1994). Strategic Industrial Sourcing. New York: Oxford University Press.
  37. Powell W.W., Koput K.W., Smith-Doerr L. (1996). Interorganizational collaboration and the locus of innovation: Networks of Learning in Biotechnology. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41: 116-145., DOI: 10.2307/2393988
  38. Prahalad C.K., Hamel G. (1990). The core competencies of the corporation. Harvard Business Review, 68: 79-91.
  39. Sabel C. (1996). Learning by monitoring: the institutions of economic development. In: Smelser N., Swedberg R., eds., The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press: 137-165.
  40. Sabel C., Kern H., Herringel G. (1989). Collaborative Manufacturing: New Supplier Relations in the Automobile Industry and the Redefinition of the Industrial Corporation. International Policy Forum IMVP, May, Mexico.
  41. Sako M. (1992). Prices, Quality and Trust. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  42. Sobrero M. (1996). Innovazione tecnologica e relazioni tra imprese. Roma: La Nuova Italia Scientifica.
  43. Sosa M.E., Eppinger S.D., Rowles C.M. (2003). Identifying modular and integrative systems and their impact on design team interactions. Journal of Mechanical Design, 125, 2: 240-252., DOI: 10.1115/1.1564074
  44. Spender J.C. (1996). Making knowledge the basis of a dynamic theory of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, Special Issue, 17: 45-62.
  45. Sturgeon T.J. (2002). Modular production networks: a new American model of industrial organization. Industrial and Corporate Change, 11, 3: 451-496.
  46. Takeishi A. (2001). Bridging inter- and intra-firm boundaries: management of supplier involvement in automobile product development. Strategic Management Journal, 22: 403-433.
  47. Takeishi A. (2002). Knowledge Partitioning in the Inter-Firm Division of Labor: The Case of Automotive Product Development. Organization Science, 13: 321-338.
  48. Takeishi A., Fujimoto T. (2003). Modularization in the car industry: interlinked multiple hierarchies of product, production, and supplier systems. In: Prencipe A., Davies A., Hobday M., eds., The Business of Systems Integration. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 254-278.
  49. Volpato G. (2004). The OEM-FTS relationship in automotive industry. International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 4, 2-3: 166-197., DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2004.005325
  50. Ward A., Sobek D.K., Cristiano J.J., Liker J.K. (1995). Toyota, concurrent engineering, and set based design. In: Liker J.K., Ettlie J.E., Campbell J.C., eds., Engineered in Japan: organization and technology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  51. Ward A., Liker J.K., Cristiano J.J., Sobek II D.K. (1995). The Second Toyota Paradox, How Delaying Decisions Can Make Better Cars Faster. Sloan Management Review, Spring: pp. 43-61.
  52. Whitford J. (2005). The New Old Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  53. Whitford J., Enrietti A. (2005). Surviving the fall of a king: The regional institutional implications of crisis at Fiat Auto. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 29, 4: 771-795.
  54. Whitford J., Zeitlin J. (2004). Governing Decentralized Production: Institutions, Public Policy, and the Prospects for Inter-firm Collaboration in US Manufacturing. Industry and Innovation, 11, 1-2: 11-44., DOI: 10.1080/1366271042000200439
  55. Whitney D.E. (1995). Nippondenso Co. Ltd.: A Case Study of Strategic Product. In: Liker J.K., Ettlie J.E., Campbell J.C., eds., Engineered in Japan: organization and technology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  56. Womack J.P., Jones D.T., Ross D. (1990). The Machine that Changed the World. New York: Rawson Ass.
  57. Wooldridge J.M. (2001). Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data. Cambridge, Massachussetts: The MIT Press.
  58. Zaheer A., McEvily B., Perrone V. (1998). Does Trust Matter? Exploring the Effects of Interorganizational and Interpersonal Trust on Performance. Organization Science, 9, 2: 141-159.
  59. Zirpoli F. (2008). Il ruolo dell’organizzazione nella gestione strategica dell’innovazione. Economia & Management, 1: 53-68.
  60. Zirpoli F. (2010). Organizzare l’innovazione. Bologna: il Mulino.
  61. Zirpoli F., Becker M. (2011a). The limits of design and engineering outsourcing: Performance integration and the unfulfilled promises of modularity. R&D Management, 41, 1: 21-43.
  62. Zirpoli F., Becker M. (2011b). What happens when you outsource too much. Sloan Management Review, 52, 2: 59-64.
  63. Zirpoli F., Camuffo A. (2009). Product architecture, inter-firm vertical coordination and knowledge partitioning in the auto industry. European Management Review, 6: 250-264.
  64. Zirpoli F., Caputo M. (2002). The nature of buyer-supplier relationships in codesign: The Italian auto industry case. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 22, 12: 1389-1410., DOI: 10.1108/01443570210452066

Anna Moretti, Francesco Zirpoli, Innovation processes in the automotive suppliers’ network: internal resources and inter-firm relationships in "SOCIOLOGIA DEL LAVORO " 147/2017, pp. 128-149, DOI:10.3280/SL2017-147007

   

FrancoAngeli is a member of Publishers International Linking Association a not for profit orgasnization wich runs the CrossRef service, enabing links to and from online scholarly content