My name is Madhav Pappu, and I am a Ph.D. student, in the business
school, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I am in the process of
writing a proposal on strategic logistics alliances and organizational
learning, for my dissertation.
Literature and research on strategic alliances and organizational
learning is rare. Those that are available are on 'competitive
collaborations' and OL (i.e, the strategic alliance studied is one between
companies who are traditional competitors eg. Ford and Mazda). Thus the
incentive to 'learn' tends to be a dominant aspect of the relationship.
While such research is rare, rarer still are research on Ol and
strategic alliances between adjacent members in a value chain eg. buyers
and sellers (say a seller of transportation services and a firm). It is
in this kind of interfirm relationship that I wish to study OL.
Often, in such buyer-seller relationships (categorized as partnerships,
alliances, preferred-vendor etc., based on the fancy of the company) there
is a distinct lack of communication, and mistrust between the parties.
Even though they start out with great aspirations, as time passes by the
relationship takes on the traditional "how much better are you than the
next guy" kind of role. This attitude, especially by large buyers of
services, tends to hurt the seller -- especially the small guy.
While there are several critical questions that need to be addressed, I
intend to address a few. For example: (1) "Do firms that have a learning
outlook treat such relationships differently?", (2) "Is there any
incentive for firms to want to 'learn' from the other in such a vertical
relationship?" (3) "How do firms, that have a learning philosophy
ingrained in their vision manage such relationships?" and finally (4) "Do
firms that have such an outlook perform better than those that do not?"
I would appreciate any help, advice or information that you may have for
me on this topic. Since several of you are practioners, your personal
experiences will be more help than anything I can get out of a text.
Dept. of Marketing, Logistics and Transportation
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN 37996-0530
Tel: (423) 974-7536 (or -5311)
Fax: (423) 974-1932
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