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Linking manufacturing and competitive strategies for successful firm performance: a review and reconceptualization

Sidhartha Das (School of Business, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA)
Cem Canel (Congdon School of Supply Chain, Business Analytics and Information Systems, UNC Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 13 July 2022

Issue publication date: 8 February 2023




The purpose of this study is to propose a framework depicting the dynamic links between a firm’s external environment, competitive strategy, manufacturing strategy, competitive advantage and firm performance. This is followed by articulating expected differences among the the content and process dimensions dimensions of a manufacturing strategy for different competitive strategies.


Today, manufacturing is widely recognized as one of the most important means of creating and sustaining a competitive advantage. This paper studies the emerging broader view of the strategic role of manufacturing by offering a manufacturing strategy model, showing its impact on competitive advantage and, ultimately, firm performance. This is accomplished by identifying and defining major content and process dimensions of manufacturing strategy and relating them to a firm’s strategic type. The paper uses an integrative competitive strategy typology (Segev, 1989) to clarify differences in manufacturing strategy dimensions and different competitive strategies. The concept of “fit as gestalt” among the dimensions of manufacturing strategy is also introduced. This study presents the implications of fit between manufacturing and competitive strategy and the contribution of content and process dimensions of manufacturing strategy to firm performance and concludes by providing implications for executives and future research issues.


Differences in content and process dimensions of manufacturing strategy for different competitive strategies are clarified.

Research limitations/implications

Other researchers may propose different frameworks for linking manufacturing and competitive strategies.


This paper presents an integrative view of competitive and manufacturing strategies. It highlights the numerous choices companies must make to ensure fit among the competitive strategic types and their corresponding manufacturing strategies. This integration adds coherence and parsimony to the literature. It provides a basis for conceptualizing manufacturing strategy, thus reconciling different strategic perspectives and reducing a potential source of conflicting research results.



The authors acknowledge helpful comments and support provided by Prof. Shaker A. Zahra, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management, the University of Minnesota.


Das, S. and Canel, C. (2023), "Linking manufacturing and competitive strategies for successful firm performance: a review and reconceptualization", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 148-172.



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