Theoretical developments in empirical quantitative manufacturing strategy literature




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Peer reviewed



Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report the extent and trends of theoretical developments in the empirical quantitative manufacturing strategy (MS) literature published between the years 1966 and 2015 and provide research gaps that can be bridged by the future research. Design/methodology/approach – This content analysis-based literature review analyzes 133 empirical quantitative MS articles published in refereed international journals in the discipline of operations management. These articles are categorized into five article types, namely, reporters, testers, qualifiers, builders, and expanders following the framework of Colquitt and Zapata-Phelan (2007). Analyses are carried out to unearth important trends in theory development in these article types. Findings – Theory development is progressing in empirical quantitative MS literature. However, the trend is shifting from theory testing to theory building. MS discipline has borrowed theories from other disciplines. Expectancy theory and media richness theory are the micro theories while resource-based view, contingency theory, and trade-off theory are the major macro theories used in this domain. The most impactful constructs include environmental technology portfolio, enterprise resource planning, manufacturing proactiveness, and modularity-based manufacturing practices, and the most dominant article types are qualifiers and expanders. Research limitations/implications – The findings are based on the empirical quantitative articles published in the MS discipline which provides a partial view of theory development in the MS discipline. Practical implications – The paper highlights predominant theories, frameworks, and constructs that can be utilized by practitioners to improve their understanding of MS, their ability to predict future scenarios and solve practical problems. Originality/value – No such study has been conducted to date in the MS discipline, and it is hoped that this study will play a significant role in further developing theory in the MS discipline



Operations management, Manufacturing strategy, Theory development, Theory building, Theory testing


Kamran, A. C., Butt, I., Jajja, M.S.S. and Arshad, M. (2018) Theoretical developments in empirical quantitative manufacturing strategy literature. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 38 (1), pp. 183-210


Research Institute