Frontpage  About
Paper info: A learning perspective on switching suppliers


A learning perspective on switching suppliers


Lena Bygballe
Norwegian School of Management
Lena Bygballe

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.


Download paper
(86.5 kb)


During the last decade the ending of exchange relationships has received increasing attention from researchers. The purpose of this paper is to explore and discuss one particular aspect of ending - namely, switching supplier relationships. The basis for the discussion is two-fold. First, insights from literature on inter-organisational relationships and organisational learning are used and related to switching issues. Second, the findings from a qualitative case study are discussed and related to the literature. The findings suggest that switching from one supplier to another requires a translation of knowledge and routines gained in the former relationship. The contribution of the paper is to relate switching processes and costs to learning. In addition, the paper offers an understanding of the learning processes involved in relationship development and the substance of such investments. This helps explaining why switching suppliers is often troublesome and highlights what considerations managers should make when initiating such changes in their supplier relationships.