اثرات افزایش انعطاف پذیری تولید از طریق ظرفیت جاذب عملیاتی و توانایی دو طرفه عملیاتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|3653||2013||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||12750 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 30, Issue 3, March 2012, Pages 201–220
A large body of research investigates how manufacturing flexibility in uncertain environments leads to firm performance, with mixed results. The mixed findings could be due to differences across firms in terms of the capabilities to acquire, assimilate, and transform knowledge and to simultaneously pursue both the exploitation of existing operational capabilities and the exploration for new operational capabilities. Building on the literature that suggests that manufacturing flexibility mediates the relationship between environmental uncertainty and firm performance, we explore the applicability of two organizational learning contingencies to the operations environment: operational absorptive capability and operational ambidexterity. Absorptive capacity enables the recognition and assimilation of new knowledge. Ambidexterity determines whether this knowledge will be applied for both exploration and exploitation. Using a sample of 852 manufacturing firms, we find that environmental uncertainty affects firm performance directly and indirectly through manufacturing flexibility. Furthermore, both operational absorptive capacity and operational ambidexterity moderate the relationship between environmental uncertainty and manufacturing flexibility and the relationship between manufacturing flexibility and firm performance. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Faced with complex and unpredictable task environments, “manufacturing flexibility permits a manufacturing firm to cope” (Swamidass and Newell, 1987, p. 515). Manufacturing flexibility is “the ability to change or react with little penalty in time, effort, cost or performance” (Upton, 1994, p. 73). Environmental uncertainty describes the rate and unpredictability of change in a firm's external environment (Dess and Beard, 1984) related to, for example, demand, technology, and competition. Despite the proposed benefits of manufacturing flexibility, prior research documents mixed findings for the effects of manufacturing flexibility on performance in uncertain environments. Swamidass and Newell's seminal study (1987) reported that environmental uncertainty influenced manufacturing flexibility that, in turn, enhanced performance. Some subsequent replications reported consistent findings (e.g., Anand and Ward, 2004, Chang et al., 2002, Chang et al., 2003 and Narasimhan and Das, 1999), while others did not find support. For example, Pagell and Krause (1999) challenged the assumption that the environment influences the extent of manufacturing flexibility, and found that firms with higher performance had greater manufacturing flexibility regardless of environmental uncertainty. Introducing the contingent role of competitive strategy, Ward and Duray (2000) found that competitive strategy mediates both the relationship between environmental uncertainty and the manufacturing strategy and the relationship between manufacturing strategy and performance. The inconclusive nature of previous studies may result from how firms develop, deploy, and leverage manufacturing flexibility differently. Upton (1995a, pp. 76–77) cautioned that firms must identify the right type of flexibility, reporting that 40% of flexibility-improvement efforts are unsuccessful and “the cause could be traced to a failure to identify precisely what kind of manufacturing flexibility was needed, how to measure it, or which factors most affected it.” This suggests that capabilities might explain why some firms are more likely to realize higher performance from increased manufacturing flexibility while others are not. Scholars have called for further empirical examination of the environmental uncertainty–manufacturing flexibility–firm performance relationship, especially research that examines mediators and employs rigorous measures (Anand and Ward, 2004 and Pagell and Krause, 2004). Ketokivi (2006, p. 226) proposed a contingency-based approach: “in addition to the classical contingencies, we must incorporate the strategic and technological contingencies into our examination, otherwise our understanding of the phenomenon remains incomplete.” The present study responds to these calls and adopts a contingency perspective by investigating: “Why are some firms able to develop more effective responses to environmental uncertainty using manufacturing flexibility?” We explore two firm learning capabilities that may moderate the environmental uncertainty–manufacturing flexibility–performance relationship: operational absorptive capability and operational ambidexterity. Operational absorptive capacity is the ability of a firm's operational units to acquire, assimilate, transform, and exploit knowledge from the operations environment. Operational ambidexterity refers to an operational unit's simultaneous pursuit of exploration and exploitation. As the concepts of absorptive capacity and ambidexterity originate in the strategy literature, no a priori assumption should be made about their suitability and value to operations management research. Following suggestions on theory borrowing across contexts (e.g., Whetten et al., 2009), we create an operationalization to the operations management context and examine the strategy concepts’ appropriateness and value using a sample of 852 manufacturing firms. Our study offers contributions to both the operations management and the strategic management literature. First, to the large literature describing manufacturing flexibility as an effective response to environmental threats, we find that operational absorptive capacity and operational ambidexterity are moderators, strengthening the relationships between environmental uncertainty and manufacturing flexibility and between manufacturing flexibility and firm performance. Second, we examine the transferability of these strategy concepts to the functional level context of operations management – specifically, the horizontal theory borrowing of absorptive capacity and vertical borrowing of ambidexterity. Thus, we extend seminal work by Swamidass and Newell (1987) and inform mixed findings by exploring the effects of operations related learning. Extant operations management literature focused on manifestations of learning such as increased efficiency or increased flexibility. Operational absorptive capacity and operational ambidexterity may explain how operational routines and capabilities are renewed and realigned to meet environmental contingencies. Third, we contribute to the absorptive capacity literature by offering theoretical reasoning and empirical evidence of its importance in the operations management context. The empirical evidence is also valuable as extant literature typically discusses the possible impacts of absorptive capacity on firm learning and performance, but offers limited empirical analysis (Lane et al., 2006 and Tu et al., 2006). Fourth, we answer calls for exploring ambidexterity in an operations context (Adler et al., 2009 and Andriopoulos and Lewis, 2009), especially the complex relationship between ambidexterity, environment (Gibson and Birkinshaw, 2004 and He and Wong, 2004), and performance (Raisch and Birkinshaw, 2008). The paper is structured as follows: Section 2 introduces the theoretical background of the model, including the theory borrowing of our moderators, and hypotheses based on the literatures associated with manufacturing flexibility, environmental uncertainty, operational absorptive capacity, and operational ambidexterity. The research sample and methodology are presented in Section 3, with the results provided in Section 4. Section 5 discusses the contributions to the literatures of operations management and strategic management, managerial implications, limitations, and future research opportunities.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Manufacturing firms face an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. Firms with greater operational absorptive capacity and operational ambidexterity capabilities are more likely to respond to demand, technical, and competitive uncertainty by pursuing manufacturing flexibility. Furthermore, firms that can absorb external knowledge and pursue ambidextrous capabilities with respect to exploitation and exploration are better positioned to leverage manufacturing flexibility to achieve high performance outcomes. Taken together, our findings highlight the promise and challenges associated with applying organizational theory, especially strategy concepts, to the operations environment.