Inter-organizational fit and environmental innovation in supply chains: A configuration approach

Yongyi Shou, Wen Che, Jing Dai*, Fu Jia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Through examining the two constructs of inter-organizational complementarity and inter-organizational compatibility in supply chains, the purpose of this paper is to develop a taxonomy of focal firms’ inter-organizational fit (IOF) configurations with their suppliers and customers, and examine the relationship between these configurations and environmental innovation (EI) in order to answer the question of “with whom” to collaborate for EI development. Design/methodology/approach: A survey instrument was elaborated and data from a sample of 171 US firms were collected. The authors adopted cluster analysis to identify the IOF taxonomy. Canonical discriminant analysis was employed to uncover underlying dimensions between clustering variables and cluster membership. Then, ANOVA tests were conducted to investigate relationships between IOF configurations in the context of EI in supply chains. Findings: Three configurations were identified based on the complementarity and compatibility between focal firms and their supply chain partners. It is observed that the overall IOF level is positively related to firms’ EI outcomes. Moreover, inter-organizational complementarity facilitates incremental EI while inter-organizational compatibility plays a more crucial role in radical EI. Both are required to achieve the best innovation outcome. Originality/value: This research develops the first taxonomy for depicting IOF in a supply chain innovation context and also clarifies different rationale behind the development of incremental and radical EI through examining distinctive effects of the complementarity and compatibility with supply chain partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1683-1704
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2018


  • Compatibility
  • Complementarity
  • Configuration
  • Environmental innovation
  • Inter-organizational fit
  • Supply chain management

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