Homogeneity of manufacturing choices in subcontractor SMEs
Journal article, 2016
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the choices made in manufacturing decision categories by subcontractor small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and determines if subcontractor SMEs make homogenous manufacturing choices.
Design/methodology/approach – A literature review was used to develop theoretical propositions. A multiple case study with 19 subcontractor SMEs was conducted.
Findings – Factors that might lead to homogenous choices in the manufacturing strategy decision categories were formalised into four theoretical propositions. The propositions were based on new institutionalism factors as well as SME factors. The findings reveal that there is considerable heterogeneity across the subcontractor SMEs in the various manufacturing decision categories. However, there are similarities between some manufacturing choices. This can partly be explained by the proposed factors and partly by other factors, such as SME characteristics and process choices. Research limitations/implications – The study reinforces the need for more research that is focused on manufacturing decisions and choices in SMEs. All cases were of Swedish SMEs belonging to three different industries, potentially limiting the generalisability of findings to other industries or countries.
Practical implications – This study highlights the importance of the different choices made considering manufacturing and the factors influencing those choices. This provides guidance for managers when they make manufacturing choices in various decision categories. Originality/value – By addressing new institutionalism, SME characteristics and decision categories in the same study, the author provides new insights into the categories of manufacturing decisions.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises