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Strategic customer service orientation, lean manufacturing practices and performance outcomes: An empirical study

Paul Hong (Department of Information, Operations and Technology Management, College of Business and Innovation, The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
Ma Ga (Mark) Yang (Department of Management, College of Business and Public Affairs, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA)
David D. Dobrzykowski (Department of Supply Chain Management and Marketing Sciences, Rutgers Business School, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey, USA)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 14 October 2014




The notion of achieving competitive advantage using a strategic customer service orientation (SCSO) has received increased research attention. The purpose of this paper is to examine the concept of SCSO in the context of rapidly changing competitive market environments. An organization-wide SCSO can be implemented through lean manufacturing practices to achieve favorable operational and business performances (BPs).


This study employs survey methodology to examine a research model that theorizes eight hypotheses with respect to the relationships among SCSO, human and technical lean practices, and performance outcomes (operational and BPs). Data from 571 firms participating in the International Manufacturing Strategy Survey (IMSS) IV are analyzed using structural equation modeling (AMOS 20).


The findings suggest that firms with a SCSO implement both human and technical aspects of lean manufacturing practices leading to better performance results. The findings also indicate that performance outcomes are indirectly influenced through the combined efforts of technical and human lean manufacturing practices.

Research limitations/implications

Generalizations here are limited to manufacturing firms. SCSO beyond manufacturing firms like healthcare or high-tech organizations that implement lean practices in response to a SCSO have yet to be examined and provide fertile opportunities for future research.

Practical implications

These findings suggest practical insight into how to integrate service-driven value creation and delivery for achieving both cost effectiveness and quality performance outcomes.


The examination of the consequences of SCSO in manufacturing firms from multiple countries is a novel contribution in the field, as is the examination of technical and human lean practices. It comes at a time when manufacturing firms increasingly recognize the value of services for global competitiveness.



Hong, P., Ga (Mark) Yang, M. and D. Dobrzykowski, D. (2014), "Strategic customer service orientation, lean manufacturing practices and performance outcomes: An empirical study", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 699-723.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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