Skip to main content
Article
Developing new capabilities across a supplier network through boundary crossing : a case study of a China-based MNC subsidiary and its local suppliers
Organization Studies
  • Fok Loi, Jacky HONG, University of Macau, Macau
  • Robin Stanley SNELL, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
1-1-2013
Keywords
  • boundary crossing,
  • boundary objects,
  • capability development,
  • MNCs,
  • power
Abstract
Our nested case study shows how a China-based focal subsidiary of a Japanese MNC used various power bases to orchestrate a co-opetitive and diverse supplier ecosystem, and to drive cumulative cycles of collaborative capability development involving successive phases of capability gap articulation, evolution and institutionalization. All phases of capability development required the crossing of cognitive boundaries, which was facilitated by mutual engagement with boundary objects, and by common possession of generic background knowledge disseminated by the focal firm. The capability evolution phase also required the crossing of social and governance boundaries, which was supported and legitimized by shared framing assumptions about mutual benefit and continuous development, while the capability institutionalization phase also required the crossing of governance boundaries. Although the focal firm was open to suggestions for mutual benefit, it exercised unilateral control over design decisions, thereby pressurizing its suppliers to engage in capability development to meet specifications that they found arduous. Supplier diversity was a resource, and co-opetition a driving force for the discovery of solutions to manufacturability problems during the capability evolution phase, such that failure to develop requisite capabilities was uncommon.
DOI
10.1177/0170840612467154
E-ISSN
17413044
Publisher Statement

Copyright © The Author(s) 2013

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version
Publisher’s Version
Citation Information
Hong, J. F. L., & Snell, R. S. (2013). Developing new capabilities across a supplier network through boundary crossing: A case study of a China-based MNC subsidiary and its local suppliers. Organization Studies, 34(3), 377-406. doi: 10.1177/0170840612467154