Facilitating collaboration in e-supply chain systems: an action learning-based approach


Increasingly, organisations are emphasizing more cooperative trading relationships with the view to constructing long-term collaborative partnerships. Often firms introduce Internet-based systems to integrate strategic suppliers into collaborative networks. In reality, many of these collaborative supply chain systems have underperformed or been terminated. Frequently these inter-organisational systems achieve gains in operational performance but fall short of relationship change. However to maximise the potential of an integrated system, participants need to learn ‘the art of collaboration’ with supply chain partners and manage a difficult change process. Achieving a successful implementation requires a formal intervention programme that facilitates behavioural change to improve integration within the network. One practical intervention technique is “action learning”. This approach focuses on learning from experience in an applied organisational context to cultivate behavioural change and collaborative practice. In this paper, the authors identify the key elements of an action learning programme created to promote behavioural change in the implementation of an Internet-based collaborative supply chain system. Based upon empirical data from an EC-Funded Fifth Framework Project, the impact of this formal integration programme is assessed

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