Inderscience Publishers

Transaction costs and organisational learning in strategic outsourcing relationships

The present paper examines the role of organisational learning and transaction costs economics in strategic outsourcing decisions. Interorganisational learning is critical to competitive success, and organisations often learn more effectively by collaborating with other organisations. However, learning processes may also complicate the process of forming interorganisational partnerships which may increase transaction costs. Based on the literature, the authors develop refutable implications for outsourcing supply chain logistics and a sample of 121 firms in the supply chain logistics industry is used to test the hypotheses. The results show that trust and transaction costs are significant and substantial drivers of strategic outsourcing of supply chain logistics (a strategic flexibility action). Learning intent and knowledge acquisition have no significant influence on the decision to outsource supply chain logistics. The paper concludes with a discussion of the different and often conflicting implications for managing interorganisational learning processes.

Keywords: knowledge acquisition, organisational learning, strategic flexibility, supply chain management, SCM, transaction cost economics, strategic outsourcing, outsourcing relationships, collaboration, logistics, interorganisational learning

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