Supply chain innovation: an integrating framework and aerospace cases from China

He, Sijia (2020). Supply chain innovation: an integrating framework and aerospace cases from China. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The relationship between supply chain management and innovation has been fragmentedly explored in the literature. Relevant arguments have been generally formulated around issues of resources, coordination and learning in supply chain management. Important arguments include engaging suppliers in buyers’ research and development processes, especially in the early stage of new product development, which helps to leverage suppliers’ expertise but may also lead to inevitable risks. Another fragmentation is that there is no unifying framework explaining how the activities along the supply chain can systematically impact on the buyers’ innovation performance. In this context, this research develops an integrating framework of supply chain innovation (SCI) to reveal how the supply chain capabilities influence a firm’s innovation performance.

This research adopts a multiple case study approach to collect empirical data for two main reasons. Firstly, the process of identifying the relationship between supply chain capabilities and innovation performance is a theory-building process (Eisenhardt, 1989). Therefore, case study provides description and exploration to serve the aim of theory-building. Secondly, implementing case study approach is more suitable to serve the research objective to collect qualitative data that focuses on exploring in depth rather than breadth (Denscombe, 1998 and Eisenhardt, 1989). Because case study “focuses on instances of a particular phenomenon with a view to providing an in-depth account of events, relationships, experiences or processes that are occurring in that particular instance” (Denscombe, 1998).

We have conducted 37 intensive interviews and secondary data from 8 aerospace manufacturers in China. The case companies were selected via theoretical sampling method, and there are five case selection criteria: firstly, the case companies must be involved in manufacturing in the aerospace industry; secondly, the company must be engaged in at least one type of innovation performance; thirdly, the researched companies must come from either the manufacturer and supplier side of the supply chain; last but not least, the company must be at the higher tier of the complex aerospace manufacturing supply chain (at least tier 1-2). The data were analysed by following Yin’s (2018) guidelines and thematic analysis methods (Braun and Clarke, 2006) to explore the relationship between supply chain capabilities and innovation performance.

The main contribution of this research is that it extends the existing literatures to provide an integrating framework of SCI that incorporates discussions from different aspects of operations theories. It provides case studies from eight companies from China, including two leading enterprises in the aerospace manufacturing industry in the domestic market. The research looks from both the manufacturers’ side and suppliers’ side, aiming to provide a more comprehensive framework and explains how innovation performance can be enhanced through SCI.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Birmingham Business School, Department of Management
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor


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