استراتژی در زمینه تولید: محیط زیست، استراتژی های رقابتی و استراتژی تولید
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 18, Issue 2, February 2000, Pages 123–138
Considering manufacturing strategy in its larger strategic context has been thematic in conceptual literature in operations but relatively neglected in empirical studies, thus leaving predominant conceptual models of manufacturing strategy largely untested. This research develops a conceptual model of manufacturing strategy from the literature and tests the model using data from a sample of manufacturers in three industries in the United States. This research contributes to manufacturing strategy literature in four ways. First, it supports empirically a model of manufacturing strategy that is predominant in the conceptual literature. Second, it demonstrates that the strategic linkages in manufacturing businesses are clearer among good performers than poor performers. Third, this research suggests that competitive strategy acts as a mediator between an organization's environment and its manufacturing strategy. Fourth, the findings suggest that the relationship between competitive strategy and performance is mediated by manufacturing strategy. These last two findings have important implications for approaching research in manufacturing strategy in the future.
Research in operations management has been characterized in recent years by an increasing effort devoted to the study of manufacturing strategy using empirical methods. A review of the literature reveals that much of this empirical research effort has focused on the internal consistency of manufacturing strategy (e.g., priorities and programs) and assessing the performance consequences of such consistency. Surprisingly little empirical research has addressed the alignment among manufacturing strategy, business-level competitive strategy, and the competitive environment faced by the firm, although much of the conceptual literature in manufacturing strategy has focused on this issue of alignment (Swink and Way, 1995). Thus the predominant conceptual model of manufacturing strategy that considers manufacturing in the larger strategic context of the firm has remained largely unsubstantiated because it has not been adequately tested. We approach this relatively neglected area by testing empirically an accepted conceptual model of manufacturing strategy in the context of a sample of firms' competitive strategies and environments. In essence, we address three issues. First, we ask whether data collected from a sample of manufacturers are consistent with the model supported by much of the conceptual literature. We describe that conceptual model in Section 2. Second, we address whether or not manufacturing strategy appears to matter in the larger context of the firm's environment and competitive strategy. In other words, we test whether there is a relationship between manufacturing strategy and business performance when the effects of environment and business-level competitive strategy are also considered. Third, we address the form of the relationship between competitive environment and manufacturing strategy. Specifically, we analyze the extent to which competitive strategy mediates the effects of environmental dynamism on manufacturing strategy. Environmental dynamism refers to the degree of turbulence in products, technologies, and demand for products in a market (Miller and Friesen, 1983; Dess and Davis, 1984). By competitive strategy we refer to the broad dimensions that a business uses as a basis of advantage, e.g., price vs. differentiation (Porter, 1980). Manufacturing strategy may be thought of as the manufacturing-oriented dimensions that win orders (Hill, 1994). Although the possible mediating effects of competitive strategy on the relationship between environmental dynamism and manufacturing strategy have not been tested previously, the environment has long been identified as an important contingency in conceptual and empirical studies of both competitive and manufacturing strategy (e.g., Skinner, 1969; Hofer, 1975; Van Dierdonck and Miller, 1980). To address these issues, we employ data from a sample 101 U.S. manufacturers across three industries to estimate a path model using covariance structure analysis. We contrast the behavior of high and low performers by splitting the sample on the basis of business performance. We utilize self-reported performance measures to achieve the performance split and to analyze performance effects, although we acknowledge the shortcomings inherent in such data.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In essence, this research suggests four notable findings. First, long-standing conceptual arguments linking environment, competitive strategy, manufacturing strategy, and performance are upheld empirically among high performance firms. Second, the model does not fit firms that report relatively poor business performance. Third, we find no direct link between environmental dynamism and manufacturing strategy; rather we find that this relationship is mediated by competitive strategy. Fourth, the data do not support a direct relationship between competitive strategy and business performance. The data suggest that the relationship between competitive strategy and performance is mediated by manufacturing strategy. We elaborate on each of these findings in turn. 6.1. Empirical support for the conceptual model The tests of the causal model shown in Fig. 2 confirm widely held beliefs about the role of manufacturing strategy in context. Although this finding only confirms what many scholars already hold to be true, it is worth highlighting because such confirmation has not been reported in the literature previously. Although a number of empirical studies have addressed pairs of constructs in the environment–competitive strategy–manufacturing strategy nexus, a review of the literature has not revealed an instance where all three appear in a model simultaneously. In addition, we address the performance implications suggested by the model. The data analysis also reveals information about the specific nature of the relationships that exist in our sample of high performance manufacturing firms. Recall that we use two predominant competitive strategy dimensions, differentiation and price. Theory and empirical evidence in competitive strategy suggests that differentiation strategies are more effective in dynamic environments (Miller, 1986 and Miller, 1988; Bourgeois and Eisenhardt, 1988). Our own findings confirm this position, the path between environmental dynamism and a differentiation strategy is significant and positive while the path between environmental dynamism and a low price competitive strategy is not significant (see Fig. 2). From the perspective of operations management, the paths between each of the competitive strategies and the manufacturing strategy dimensions are of great interest. A competitive strategy of differentiation is linked with each of the manufacturing strategy variables. The coefficient of the paths between differentiation and quality and between differentiation and flexibility are each significant at less than 0.05. Links between differentiation and the other two manufacturing strategy dimensions, low cost and delivery, are significant at 0.10. This finding suggests that successful differentiators pursue a portfolio of manufacturing capabilities to make their offering distinctive in the marketplace. The fact that quality shows the strongest link with differentiation is consistent with the literature (e.g., Garvin, 1987; Williams et al., 1995). As expected, the model reflects a relationship between a low price competitive strategy and a low cost manufacturing strategy, a finding suggested by conceptual literature (e.g., Ward et al., 1996) and common sense. The price–low cost path is significant at 0.10. The strong link between quality and business performance is also notable. This finding is consistent with both the vast body of TQM research that suggests that a quality emphasis is primary. It is also consistent with a number of empirical studies that suggest a positive relationship between quality and various measures of business performance (e.g., Buzzell and Gale, 1987; Flynn et al., 1995a; Williams et al., 1995). Findings reported by Narasimhan and Jayaram (1998)suggest programs that are antecedents to making progress in achieving competitive priorities, including quality. The importance of the close coupling between competitive and manufacturing strategies among high performance manufacturers raises interesting questions about how such coupling can be accomplished Hill (1994)provides one methodology for achieving such a coupling and also points out many potential pitfalls in the process. Adam and Swamidass (1989)and others point out that manufacturing strategy process research has been neglected relative to content research. The (content research) findings reported here underline the importance of process research for developing an understanding how firms establish close linkages between competitive and operations strategy without adopting bureaucratic strictures that impede responsiveness. 6.1.1. Poor fit for poor performers A number of authors have suggested the consequences of not adhering to a manufacturing strategy model that ties business and manufacturing strategy: poor performance (e.g., Skinner, 1969; Hill, 1994). Our findings of poor model fit for poor performers are consistent with the admonitions of these and other influential thinkers in our field. Our findings also suggest the practical advice for empirical researchers in our field, separate consideration of high and low performers. Hambrick (1984)specifically recommends splitting a sample based on performance to capture the different behaviors in strategy research using a configurational approach. Other approaches suggest different means for achieving separation but the idea that poor performers behavior may be fundamentally different from good performers is worthwhile. 6.2. Environmental dynamism and manufacturing strategy At first glance, the finding of no direct relationship between environmental dynamism and manufacturing strategy appears at variance with the empirical findings reported by Van Dierdonck and Miller (1980), Swamidass and Newell (1987)and Ward et al. (1995). The apparent inconsistency is easily explained, however, by the fact that none of the studies noted above considered environment and competitive strategy simultaneously. Our findings indicate that competitive strategy mediates the effects of environmental dynamism on manufacturing strategy in high performance firms. Testing for mediation is usually done in a path analytic framework similar to the one used in this research. The significant paths between environmental dynamism and competitive strategy and between competitive strategy and manufacturing strategy cast competitive strategy as a mediator (Venkatraman, 1989). The fact that there is not a direct path between environmental dynamism and manufacturing strategy provides stronger evidence of mediation (i.e., evidence of complete mediation, Blalock, 1969; Venkatraman, 1989). The mediating effect of competitive strategy suggests that environmental dynamism has an important influence on manufacturing strategy but that influence is articulated through and modified by competitive strategy. The research implication of competitive strategy mediating the effects of environment on manufacturing strategy is clear. A model of manufacturing strategy must include both environmental and competitive strategy variables to capture the context of manufacturing strategy accurately. Previous empirical research in manufacturing strategy generally excludes from consideration either environment or competitive strategy. Our results suggest that overlooking either environment or competitive strategy may miscast the true relationships. Therefore, it is important to assess manufacturing strategy in the context of both environment and competitive strategy. In short, the data suggest that for high performance manufacturers, reactions to environmental conditions are effected through competitive strategy. This only underscores the importance of a close coupling of competitive and manufacturing strategies and, again, implies that learning how to make effective links between competitive and manufacturing strategy is critical. 6.3. Competitive strategy and performance Our analysis suggests that the relationship between competitive strategy and business performance is mediated by manufacturing strategy. More specifically, the quality dimension of manufacturing strategy appears to mediate the differentiation strategy–business performance connection. This finding implies that a differentiation strategy works when it is supported by manufacturing capability, i.e., quality. This implication is important because it suggests that performance improvements resulting from competitive strategy initiatives are manifested in their implementation via manufacturing capabilities, specifically quality. By using more precise instruments to measure competitive strategy, future research may discern that other dimensions of manufacturing strategy also serve to define the performance effects of competitive strategy. The emerging paradigm of manufacturing strategy that appears in the literature suggests tight constellations of environmental factors and strategies which lead to superior capabilities and performance (e.g., Miller and Roth, 1994; Hayes and Pisano, 1996). Our study supports this view of manufacturing strategy. In addition, we test and support a model of manufacturing strategy that is predominant in the conceptual literature for high performers but show that this model does not fit for low performers. This research also shows that competitive strategy is a mediator between environment and manufacturing strategy for high performing firms. Perhaps most notably, the findings provide empirical evidence that manufacturing and competitive strategies are inextricably linked in high performance firms. This suggests that research into the processes that companies use to achieve those links is of great importance for moving forward our knowledge of manufacturing strategy.