Purchasing Involvement in New Product Development: An Absorptive Capacity Perspective

Katia Picaud-Bello*, Thomas E. Johnsen, Richard Calvi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this paper, we explore the role of purchasing involvement in facilitating the absorption of supplier knowledge into a firm's new product development (NPD) projects. Extant research indicates that absorbing new supplier knowledge can enhance a firm's NPD performance. Despite previous studies on purchasing involvement, little empirical research has examined the role purchasing plays in absorbing new supplier knowledge. Adopting an absorptive capacity perspective, we report the findings from an embedded case study of four NPD projects within the context of a single firm. This firm has implemented purchasing involvement practices at the early stages of the NPD process to respond to changes in the industry's technological and environmental regulations. We analyse specific purchasing practices that can facilitate the absorption of supplier knowledge into the NPD projects, as well as the benefits and the challenges associated with the implementation of these practices. We find that the purchasing department is involved in different early stages of the NPD process, which may have different effects on the absorption of supplier knowledge across the absorptive capacity processes: exploration, assimilation and exploitation. Our findings also reveal that purchasing involvement may facilitate a firm's absorptive capacity as well as its connective capacity by accessing—not acquiring—supplier knowledge. We propose a conceptual framework that can facilitate the connection and absorption of supplier knowledge for NPD projects. Managerial implications are provided to encourage firms to deploy purchasing involvement practices early in their NPD projects when engaging in absorbing new supplier knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Pages (from-to)150-166
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Purchasing involvement
  • New product development
  • Absorptive capacity
  • Connective capacity

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