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In Chains? Automotive Suppliers and Their Product Development Activities

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Document pages: 34 pages

Abstract: A conceptual framework is developed and tested in which supplier downstream position in the supply chain, supplier innovation strategy and customer development commitment are seen as the antecedents of supplier product development activity. Using partial least squares (PLS), we analyze the results of a survey of 161 Swedish automotive suppliers and test a series of nested models to test our hypotheses. We demonstrate that the position of the supplier in the supply chain and its strategic focus on innovation not only have a direct impact on (actual) supplier product development activity, but that there is also an interaction effect, implying that the effects of strategy are contingent on the supplier???s supply chain position. Additionally, we find that customer development commitment does not have any significant direct effect on supplier product development activities, but that this relation is fully mediated by supplier innovation strategy. The meaning of the findings for developing a more extensive conceptual framework for understanding supplier product development activities, some managerial implications, and future research are discussed.

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