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Technological and organisational change in small‐ to medium‐sized manufacturing companies: A learning organisation perspective

Gloria Lee (Aston University, Birmingham, UK, and)
David Bennett (Aston University, Birmingham, UK, and)
Ian Oakes (University of Central England, Birmingham, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 May 2000

Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which a learning organisation perspective is attainable in small‐ to medium‐sized manufacturing companies. An audit tool is developed from the literature on organisational learning and recognised processes that lead towards becoming a learning organisation. The paper focuses on the application of the audit tool in three UK automotive component suppliers which are all experiencing pressures for change imposed by the major vehicle manufacturers. The main changes are concerned with tiering of the supply chain and substantial delegation of responsibilities to component suppliers including an increasing emphasis on innovation and continuous improvement. The companies presented in the paper are taken from a research project into the impact of changes in supply chain relationships on the operation of small‐ and medium‐sized manufacturing firms in the West Midlands region of the UK. The ways in which the companies are responding to change are presented together with the results of a self‐assessment using the developed audit tool. These results suggest that companies of this type tend to focus on change in those areas that involve least challenge to the established power and authority of management.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, G., Bennett, D. and Oakes, I. (2000), "Technological and organisational change in small‐ to medium‐sized manufacturing companies: A learning organisation perspective", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 549-572. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570010318922

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

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