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Tapping Supplier Innovation


  • Acknowledgments: The author thanks Christian Rink for his efforts in data collection. He acknowledges the helpful comments of participants at the 2009 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Chicago. He also would like to thank the Co-Editor-in-Chief and the anonymous associate editor and three reviewers for their significant contributions to the improvement of this article.


Tapping supplier innovation necessitates the effective management of the “fuzzy front end” of the new product development (NPD) process. This study considers the role of suppliers in the fuzzy front end and the influence of supplier integration on the focal firm's NPD outcomes. Project-level data with multiple informants indicate a strong positive relationship between supplier integration in the fuzzy front end and NPD project performance. Furthermore, relationship-specific assets and supplier integration in the firm's NPD process moderate this relationship.