The purpose of this paper is to examine how the moderating effect of uncertainty impacts the relationship of operational responsiveness and firm performance. Research on the relationship of supply chain fit and firm performance is discussed in isolation in different streams of research – such as in studies on responsiveness, agility, flexibility, efficiency and lean – without promptly recognising cross-stream contributions. This, at worst, prevents theory development. Therefore, the authors build a synthesis of literature from these streams. Grounded in the synthesis, a well-positioned empirical study that uses best research practices of past studies on the phenomenon is presented.
A cross-sectional survey sample of 875 Russian manufacturing firms was analysed with hierarchical regression.
The findings show that operational responsiveness leads to superior organisational performance if the relationship is moderated by uncertainty and supply chain responsiveness. Additionally, a direct relationship between operational responsiveness and operational performance was found. These results imply that efficiency is a precursor to responsiveness.
This paper contributes to the unification of practice–performance studies on lean, agility, flexibility, efficiency and responsiveness into a single stream of research: supply chain fit. The empirical results support contingency theory in the context of supply chain design. This paper also contributes by shedding light on supply chain dynamics of an under-researched national context. For managers, this paper offers concrete advice on decision-making regarding supply chain strategy trade-offs.
The authors want to especially thank the Deutsche Bahn and Russian Railways Center for International Logistics and Supply Chain Management of the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University for financing sample collection and providing access to the data. The authors are also grateful to Professor Richard Germain, currently of the University of Louisville, for setting up the contact with our department, for his contributions to developing the survey and for guidance in the analysis of the data.
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