This qualitative paper reports findings of an investigation into buyer-supplier interaction in the Pakistani auto-parts industry. We conceptualize technological catch-up by Pakistani suppliers in four relatio-spatial dimensions with international joint ventures (IJVs) as mediating gateways between dimensions. A critical realist lens is deployed to connect macro-level constructs with micro-level concepts and expose the interplay between agency (micro-level) and structurally constraining (macro-level) conditions inherent in a late-liberalizing emerging economy. Key findings are that catch-up occurs in four temporally overlapping dimensions in which, different macro-level governance mechanisms and firm-level orientations transform and affect the degree of catch-up. The findings support an optimum pathway for catch-up from an apprentice like transactional state in Dimension One to a fourth dimension in which relational interaction with foreign suppliers becomes lightly mediated by the IJV's gateway.
We would like to sincerely thank the Editors and the two anonymous reviewers for their rigorous and extremely constructive advice in the development of the paper. The authors would also like to thank Roy Bhaskar for his thoughts on earlier ideas for the paper. We would also like to dedicate the paper to Roy who sadly passed away in November 2014.
- B2B relationships
- Critical realism
- Emerging markets
- Knowledge transfer