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Testing the four‐stage model of the strategic role of operations in a UK context

David Barnes (Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, UK)
Frank Rowbotham (De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 July 2004



This paper reports on research aimed at operationalising the Hayes and Wheelwright four‐stage model describing the strategic role of operations. Although this model has classic status in operations management, it is little tested in practice. A questionnaire derived from the model was administered in a large‐scale postal survey of managers in a variety of UK manufacturing and service organisations. Analysis of the responses indicates that only a little over half of respondents were able to provide an assessment of their organisation's operations that fitted the logic of the four‐stage model. This seems to imply that managers have difficulty in assessing the strategic role played by their operations in an internally consistent and coherent manner. The results question the utility of the model and raise concerns about its validity.



Barnes, D. and Rowbotham, F. (2004), "Testing the four‐stage model of the strategic role of operations in a UK context", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 24 No. 7, pp. 701-720.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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