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Technology, lean, quality and human resource practices in manufacturing: how does size as a contingency factor matter?

Levente Szász (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Krisztina Demeter (Department of Supply Chain Management, Corvinus University of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary)
Ottó Csíki (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Réka Horváth (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 5 January 2023

28

Abstract

Purpose

Taking its outset in operations management (OM) contingency research, this paper aims to investigate how firm size, as one of the most powerful explanatory factors, influences the implementation and performance impact of four key manufacturing practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Three large-scale surveys from three different points in time, with a total of 1880 observations from varied geographical regions, are used to offer generalizable evidence on how firm size influences the implementation and performance outcome of technology, lean, quality and human resource practices.

Findings

The four manufacturing practices positively enhance performance: quality and lean practices produce the most consistent effects, while technology and human resource practices turn more beneficial in the latest sample. Furthermore, the authors offer robust support for the selection and mediation models (larger firms generally invest more in the four practices and, through that, achieve higher performance), while finding no evidence for the moderation model (smaller firms can equally benefit if they possess the resources to invest in these practices).

Originality/value

As manufacturing practices are continuously evolving, their performance impact cannot be guaranteed in any context. Size is a frequently used contingency variable in OM studies, but results are contradictory in terms of its impact on the implementation and performance outcomes of manufacturing practices. This study manages to ease these contradictions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was financially supported by the PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2019-1773 research project for young independent research teams funded by UEFISCDI Romania.

Citation

Szász, L., Demeter, K., Csíki, O. and Horváth, R. (2023), "Technology, lean, quality and human resource practices in manufacturing: how does size as a contingency factor matter?", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-05-2022-0213

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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