The effects of supply chain management on technological innovation: The mediating role of guanxi

Voon Hsien Lee, Keng Boon Ooi, Alain Yee Loong Chong, Amrik Sohal

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the relationships between supply chain management (SCM) practices (i.e. strategic supplier partnership, customer relationship, information sharing, information quality, postponement, internal operations) and technological innovation (TI) in a R&D manufacturing setting in Malaysia, with guanxi being the intervening variable. A conceptual model was developed and tested using data collected from 197 Malaysian manufacturing firms for the study. Data set was examined and hypotheses were tested by employing Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) analysis. The results revealed that internal operations, postponement, strategic supplier partnership, and guanxi have positive and significant relationships with TI; while guanxi mediates the relationships between four SCM practices (i.e. strategic supplier partnership, information quality, postponement, and internal operations) with TI. Findings show that through proper implementation of SCM practices, firms are able to achieve better TI performance. These findings are useful for decision-makers when formulating SCM strategies and focusing on practices that will help them achieve greater TI. This paper also contributes to existing operations management research by empirically validating guanxi as the mediator between SCM practices and TI. From a developing nation perspective, this paper identifies the important relationships that exist between SCM, guanxi and TI. The findings will be of interest to both emerging and other developing nations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-29
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Guanxi
  • Innovation management
  • Malaysia
  • Manufacturing firms
  • Supply chain management
  • Technology management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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