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Knowledge management through technology strategy: implications for competitiveness

Sohel Ahmad (Department of Management, St Cloud State University, St Cloud, Minnesota, USA)
Roger G. Schroeder (Department of Operations and Management Science, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 31 January 2011




The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize a learning‐based technology strategy along three dimensions: proactive technology posture, process adaptation and experimentation, and collaborative technology sourcing; also to investigate their relationships with plant competitiveness (cost, quality, delivery, flexibility, and innovation).


Hypothesized relationships are tested from three perspectives – direct effects perspective, co‐alignment perspective, and mediation perspective – using structural equation modeling with an international dataset.


Results show that although the three dimensions of learning‐based technology strategy are not individually related to plant competitiveness (direct effects perspective), their co‐alignment strongly impacts plant competitiveness (co‐alignment perspective). Furthermore, this co‐alignment creates an environment in which employee suggestion and feedback can help make sense of novel situations, leading to superior plant competitiveness (mediation perspective).

Practical implications

Many plants develop some aspects of a learning‐based technology strategy while paying little or no attention to the rest. As the findings of the present study show, such an approach will contribute very little to achieving competitive advantage in the marketplace. More specifically, it is shown that three dimensions of learning‐based technology strategy, when used together, have a significant effect on plant competitiveness. Additionally, it is shown that employee suggestions for improvements drive a learning‐based approach to technology strategy. Therefore, managers should adopt a comprehensive approach to technology strategy using all three dimensions and engage their employees in the process of technology development and improvement.


The literature has stressed the need for proactive technology posture, process adaptation and experimentation, and collaborative technology sourcing to gain competitive advantage. However, little is known about their mutual interdependence and their combined impact on plant competitiveness. This paper attempts to fill in this gap in the literature.



Ahmad, S. and Schroeder, R.G. (2011), "Knowledge management through technology strategy: implications for competitiveness", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 6-24.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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