Supply Chain Knowledge and Performance: A Meta-Analysis

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ABSTRACT

Many firms make significant investments into developing and managing knowledge within their supply chains. Such investments are often prudent because studies indicate that supply chain knowledge (SCK) has a positive influence on performance. Key questions still surround the SCK–performance relationship, however. First, what is the overall relationship between SCK and performance? Second, under what conditions is the relationship stronger or weaker? To address these questions, we applied meta-analysis to 35 studies of the SCK–performance relationship that collectively include more than 8,400 firms. Our conservative estimate is that the effect size of the overall relationship is math formula = .39. We also find that the SCK–performance relationship is stronger when (i) examining operational performance, (ii) gathering data from more than one supply chain node, (iii) gathering data from multiple countries, (iv) examining service industries, and (v) among more recently published studies. We also found that studies that embraced a single theory base (as opposed to using multiple ones) had a stronger SCK–performance relationship. Looking to the future, our meta-analysis highlights the need for studies to (i) include lags between the measurement of SCK and performance, (ii) gather upstream data when examining innovation, (iii) examine SCK within emerging countries, and (iv) provide much more information relative to the nuances of the SCK examined.

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