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The effects of employee competencies and IT applications on operations strategy: an empirical study of retail firms in China

Wantao Yu (Senior Lecturer in Operations Management at the School of Applied Management & Law, Buckinghamshire New University, High Wycombe, UK)
Ramakrishnan Ramanathan (Professor at Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Article publication date: 16 March 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationships between employee competencies, information technology (IT) applications, operations strategy, and business performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing upon the resource‐based theory, this study employs a path analytic framework to investigate how employee competencies and IT applications influence the development of competitive operations strategies and business performance for a sample of retail firms in China.

Findings

The findings indicate significant and positive relationships between employee competencies and operations strategy (e.g. low cost, quality and flexibility). IT applications also play a vital role in helping retailers pursue a flexibility strategy. The operations strategies of low cost and flexibility in turn influence business performance.

Originality/value

This study seems to be the first in investigating the impacts of employee competencies and IT applications on operations strategy and performance in the service sector, especially in the Chinese context.

Keywords

Citation

Yu, W. and Ramanathan, R. (2012), "The effects of employee competencies and IT applications on operations strategy: an empirical study of retail firms in China", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 3-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/13683041211204635

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited