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Bangladeshi clothing manufacturers' technology adoption in the global free trade environment

Haesun Park-Poaps (Human and Consumer Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)
Md Sadaqul Bari (Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)
Zafar Waziha Sarker (Human and Consumer Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 29 September 2020

Issue publication date: 9 April 2021

428

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to investigate the status of technology adoption (TA) among clothing manufacturers in Bangladesh and examine the influences of contextual factors on their TA level. Particularly, the authors examined the effects of export orientation, top management commitment (TMC), competitive pressure (CP), cost of capital (CC) and technical skills (TS).

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected from Bangladeshi clothing manufacturer through an online survey. A firm was treated as a unit of analysis.

Findings

The results revealed that the most common technologies adopted were information technology and software related and the least common were automation related. Export orientation negatively influenced while TS and CP positively influenced the level of TA.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the difficulty in obtaining firm level data, data collection did not utilize a random sampling. Only firms that agree to participate were included in the data.

Practical implications

The authors suggest the Bangladeshi clothing manufacturers to adopt selective technologies that complement the cost leadership strategy rather than immediate differentiation strategy or technology innovations.

Social implications

Focused investment in human capitals and knowledge transfer in Bangladesh, one of the newly classified developing country, should sustain their competitiveness in the global market. Further discussions provide various stakeholders with insights related to trade policies, international aids and the UN's sustainable development agenda.

Originality/value

This study tackles a void that exists in TA research within the labor intensive clothing manufacturing sector, especially in a lower-middle income country, which surprisingly became the second largest clothing supplier today. Unique nature of the sector as an entry to economic development process in connection to the sustainable development concept is discussed to generate implications for practitioners as well as policy makers.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This research was funded by the Patton College of Education Faculty Research Award.

Citation

Park-Poaps, H., Bari, M.S. and Sarker, Z.W. (2021), "Bangladeshi clothing manufacturers' technology adoption in the global free trade environment", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 354-370. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFMM-06-2020-0119

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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