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Innovation‐oriented operations strategy typology and stage‐based model

Anand Nair (Department of Management Science, Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
William R. Boulton (Department of Management, College of Business and Economics, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 18 July 2008




This paper aims to examine how firms, operating in mature and growing industries, can improve the alignment of their operations strategy to fit situations characterized by varying rates of industry growth and technological changes.


The authors enhance the operations strategy typology presented by Lei and Slocum by incorporating an enhanced set of competitive priorities and supporting structure/infrastructure requirements into their four cell matrix. They then introduce a stage‐based model of environmental dynamism and complexity that can foster major transitions in operations strategy.


Industry growth and technological change interact to create alternative environments with varying levels of dynamism and complexity requiring realignment of operations strategy. With increasing rates of technological change, the authors emphasize an urgent need to include innovation as a competitive priority (along with cost, quality, delivery and flexibility) to proactively adapt operations strategy to fit changing environments. It is also necessary for managers to ensure a fit between their competitive priorities and the development of supporting structures/infrastructures to ensure effective implementation of competitive operations strategy.


Operations strategy literature has not focused attention on the basic goals and capabilities needed to implement or adapt to today's dynamic environments. This study adds innovation as a competitive priority and improves our understanding of adaptation of operations strategy to alternative environments created by the interaction of industry growth and technological change. Specifically, by focusing on competitive priorities and supporting capabilities in dynamic environments, the authors provide directions for implementing changes to operations strategy.



Nair, A. and Boulton, W.R. (2008), "Innovation‐oriented operations strategy typology and stage‐based model", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 28 No. 8, pp. 748-771.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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