Does Organizational Forgetting Affect Vendor Quality Performance? An Empirical Investigation

Article (PDF Available)inManufacturing & Service Operations Management 17(3) · April 2015with 172 Reads
DOI: 10.1287/msom.2015.0522
Cite this publication
The development of organizational knowledge and the depreciation of knowledge within organizations are processes that invariably occur concurrently. In the quality domain, many researchers have examined how the development of organizational knowledge (organizational learning) enhances quality performance. We build on this literature and investigate how the depreciation of organizational knowledge (organizational forgetting) affects quality performance. We analyze information on 2,732 quality improvement initiatives implemented at 295 vendors of a car manufacturer, and find that organizational forgetting affects quality gains obtained from learning-by-doing (autonomous learning) and from quality improvement initiatives (induced learning); over 16% of quality gains from autonomous learning and 13% of quality gains from induced learning depreciate every year. Further, the impact of organizational forgetting i) differs across the types of quality improvement efforts (quality gains from process improvement initiatives depreciate while those from quality assurance initiatives do not), and ii) depends on where quality knowledge was embedded (depreciation is lower for knowledge embedded in technology than for knowledge embedded in organizational routines or organizational members). Our results highlight the ubiquity of organizational forgetting and suggest the need for continued attention to sustain and enhance quality performance in supply chains.
Figures - uploaded by Anupam Agrawal
Author content
All content in this area was uploaded by Anupam Agrawal
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
  • Article
    In this research, we disentangle the relationship between several key aspects of a team leader's experience and the likelihood of improvement project success. Using the lens of socio-technical systems, we argue that the effect of team leader experience derives from the social system as well as the technical system. The aspects of team leader experience we examine include team leader social capital (a part of the social system) and team leader experience leading projects of the same type (a part of the technical system).
  • Article
    Full-text available
    We use a unique empirical setting to investigate the spillover of quality knowledge across supply chains and to the examine contingencies that affect such spillover. We analyze the quality performance of 191 suppliers, who utilize the same facilities to manufacture similar products for two distinct businesses: one that makes cars and the other that makes commercial vehicles. From 2006 to 2009, the car business undertook 2,121 quality improvement initiatives at these suppliers, while the commercial vehicles business did not undertake any such initiatives. We find that the quality knowledge developed through the quality improvement initiatives undertaken by the car business does not easily spill over to benefit the commercial vehicles business. Quality knowledge spills over under three conditions: (1) when quality improvement efforts are focused on organizational members, as opposed to when they focus on routines or technology; (2) when quality improvement efforts focus on the output activities of suppliers, not when they focus on the input or in-process activities; and (3) when quality knowledge is developed at suppliers with low complexity in their operations. Our results provide insights on managing quality at shared suppliers.
  • Chapter
    Supply chain risk management faces a myriad of challenges. Perhaps the most understudied of which deals with intentional disruptions; that is, those disruptions arising from deliberate actions that can negatively affect supply chain operations and performance. The following chapter focuses on suppliers intentionally undermining the operations of a supply chain through opportunistic behavior such as: deception, product fraud, and contract/trust breeches. Such behavior engenders relational failure and leads to a type of risk that extant models of risk management have neglected. Accordingly, proactively managing this type of risk requires a substantially different management approach. The following presents a review of the innovative work in this domain and subsequently advances a framework for aiding managerial decision making for proactively managing and coping with such intentional risk in a supply chain. This framework encapsulates a three-pronged approach centered on avoiding and detecting, mitigating the impact of, and recovering from this unique type of supply chain risk.
  • Article
    Organizational learning includes processes of creating, retaining and transferring knowledge and has implications for the performance and competitiveness of organizations. Given the knowledge-based view of resources inherent in management of technology (MOT), in this paper, we adopt an organizational learning framework that considers knowledge to be embedded in three major components of organizations – members, tasks and tools – and the networks formed by crossing them. We present research related to these components that is most applicable to MOT. In suggesting future research in MOT, we explicate the framework further by proposing that learning occurs in an organizational context. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • Article
    This chapter compares and contrasts the effects of two knowledge repositories, routines and transactive memory systems (TMSs), on knowledge creation, coordination, retention and transfer. We provide overviews of research on the two knowledge repositories, with particular attention to how they form and change. We then discuss the relationship between routines and TMSs. We also compare and contrast routines and TMSs in terms of their capabilities to promote knowledge creation, coordination, retention and transfer in organizations. Routines can transfer across organizations, and they are resilient to member turnover. Although routines can be a source of inertia, they can also enable change. TMSs are susceptible to member turnover and are not easily transferred to other organizations. TMSs promote innovation and are particularly valuable under conditions of uncertainty. We argue that TMSs and routines are reciprocally related. Routines can seed TMSs and TMSs can crystalize into routines. We hope that our chapter stimulates future research on the interrelationship between routines and TMSs and their effects on knowledge creation, coordination, retention, and transfer in organizations.