Construction of relations with distant suppliers on the cognitive and relational dimensions to co-explore discontinuous innovations

By Sihem BenMahmoud-Jouini, Florence Charue-Duboc

Co-exploring concepts with distant suppliers on the cognitive and relational dimensions favors the identification of discontinuous innovation. However, few researches address the establishment of such relations. Based on a longitudinal study of a firm that has developed relations with distant suppliers and succeeded in co-exploring discontinuous innovation, we inductively highlight the characteristics of the process and of the organizational design that enabled the building of these relations. We point out the transparency of the co-exploration process that enables a progressive mutual commitment. The establishment of the relations is supported by a specific player with access to the top management and technical specialists, giving him a global vision of the questions to be tackled. By developing these relations simultaneously with the ones involving long term partners, this player is therefore an enabler of the organizational ambidexterity of the firm. JEL Codes : O32, L22


  • discontinuous innovation
  • suppliers contribution
  • distant suppliers
  • open innovation
  • exploration
  • organizational ambidextry
Go to the article on