Antecedents and consequences of combinative competitive capabilities in manufacturing

Nan Liu, Aleda V. Roth, Elliot Rabinovich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: Extant manufacturing strategy research dichotomizes the trade-off model and the cumulative model, but fails to explain each strategic result. The purpose of this paper is to propose four key antecedents of a trade-off versus a cumulative model by manufacturing business units (MBUs), and in turn, their association with business performance. Design/methodology/approach: The authors first review literature pertaining to the history and major themes of manufacturing strategy. Next, the authors present a theoretical model with explanations of the methodology and research design used. The model is empirically tested, and conclusions, managerial implications, and future research opportunities that stem from this research effort are provided. Findings: Strategic time orientation, as well as manufacturing practices of supply chain integration intensity and advanced manufacturing technology, are empirically found to be associated with MBUs' combinative competitive capabilities. More specifically, manufacturers following these practices are more apt to realize higher levels combinative capabilities, as depicted by the cumulative model. Originality/value: The paper shows that these manufacturing practices may extend the time within which the MBU reaches its capability frontiers, and therefore, increase the odds that it can exploit its current resources. Moreover, MBU size negatively moderates the relationship between advanced manufacturing technology and the cumulative model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1250-1286
Number of pages37
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Competitive advantage
  • Competitive capability
  • Cumulative model
  • Manufacturing business unit (MBU)
  • Manufacturing industries
  • Manufacturing strategy
  • Trade-off model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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