The main argument in this paper is that in order to understand the phenomenon of how innovative manufacturing practices diffuse we need to invoke theoretical arguments other than the ones that are conventionally used. In particular, neo-institutional arguments can shed light on the determinants of manufacturing practice adoption and implementation. We juxtapose both theoretically and empirically three different theoretical perspectives that can be used to address the phenomenon: strategic contingency, structural contingency and neo-institutional arguments. A preliminary empirical test of the three competing perspectives is tested in a sample of 164 manufacturing plants. We find that the institutional perspective explains much more of the variance in the practices adopted and implemented by the plants than either the structural contingency or the strategic contingency theories. This motivates future research using some of the less familiar theoretical approaches.
Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Contingency theory
- Institutional theory
- Manufacturing practices
- Manufacturing strategy