Effects of social capital on operational performance: impacts of servitisation

Min Zhang, Hangfei Guo, Xiande Zhao

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Studies on servitisation have largely overlooked the roles of social capital with suppliers and knowledge management. We propose a moderated mediation model to investigate the impacts of servitisation on the mechanisms through which social capital with suppliers improves operational performance. The hypotheses are empirically tested using structural equation modelling and data collected from 276 manufacturing firms in China. The results show that social capital improves operational performance both directly and indirectly through knowledge management, and the relationships are influenced by servitisation. In particular, social capital improves operational performance directly and indirectly through knowledge combination in servitised firms, whereas social capital only improves operational performance indirectly through knowledge acquisition in traditional manufacturers. The findings contribute to the literature by revealing that the effects of social capital with suppliers on operational performance are partially mediated by knowledge acquisition and knowledge combination and the mediation effects are moderated by servitisation, and by providing insights into how to design purchasing and production systems to profit from servitisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4304-4318
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number15
Early online date19 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • servitisation
  • social capital
  • knowledge management
  • supply chain management
  • empirical study

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