Purpose Based on the resource orchestration perspective, this study aims to explore whether and how strategic supply management (SSM) affects firms’ operational performance (OP) and innovation performance (IP). Design/methodology/approach Survey data comprising 404 valid responses are collected from traditional manufacturing firms in China. Confirmatory factor analysis confirms the reliability and validity of the measures. Structural equation modeling and bootstrapping are used to test all hypotheses. Findings SSM improves firms’ OP and IP. Furthermore, supply base resource mobilization (SBRM) and supply market resource mobilization (SMRM) have partial mediating effects on the relationships. SBRM has a greater effect on OP, while SMRM has a greater effect on IP. In addition, these two types of resource mobilization form different mediating paths between SSM and firm performance, and environmental uncertainty positively moderates this relationship. Originality/value With the development of national innovation strategies such as the “Made in China 2025” plan, the Chinese manufacturing industry aims to move from low-cost manufacturing to innovative and high-quality manufacturing. The study’s findings further emphasize the role of purchasing and supply management in external resource management. In addition to demonstrating the differential effects of heterogeneous resource mobilization on OP and IP, different mediation pathways through external resources mobilization are identified in the relationship between SSM and firm performance.

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