Testing an integrated model of operations capabilities: An empirical study of Australian airlines

Alka Ashwini Nand (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Prakash J. Singh (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Damien Power (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia and Department of Operations, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Publication date: 14 June 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test the integrated model of operations strategy as proposed by Schmenner and Swink to explain whether firms trade‐off or accumulate capabilities, taking into account their positions relative to their asset and operating frontiers.

Design/methodology/approach

The four major airlines based in Australia were studied. The paper is based on longitudinal data obtained from secondary sources. The four operations capabilities cost, quality, delivery and flexibility, and asset and operating frontiers, were all measured with proxy variables.

Findings

The study provides some support for the integrated model. Firms do appear to trade‐off capabilities when their asset and operating frontiers are close to each other. Firms show signs of accumulation when the asset frontiers are expanding significantly over time. There is indirect evidence that firms could be accumulating capabilities when the gap between the two frontiers is large.

Practical implications

The study provides insights into when firms trade‐off or accumulate capabilities. A good understanding of asset and operating frontiers is important in this regard. Managers need to better identify, establish and combine their firms' capabilities in response to varying internal and external contingencies.

Originality/value

The paper provides an original and detailed empirical validation of Schmenner and Swink's integrated model. In doing so, this study contributes to informing and clarifying the debate in the operations strategy area relating to the circumstances in which firms trade‐off and/or accumulate capabilities.

Keywords

Citation

Ashwini Nand, A., Singh, P.J. and Power, D. (2013), "Testing an integrated model of operations capabilities: An empirical study of Australian airlines", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 33 No. 7, pp. 887-911. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-12-2011-0484

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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