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  • YANG LIU

    Implementing Sustainable Competitive

    Advantage for Proactive Operations in

    Global Turbulent Business

    Environments

    ACTA WASAENSIA NO 227

    INDUSTRIAL MANAGEMENT 19

    UNIVERSITAS WASAENSIS 2010

  • Reviewers Professor Pekka Kess

    University of Oulu

    Department of Industrial Engineering and Management

    P.O.Box 4610

    90014 University of Oulu

    Finland

    Professor Kefan Xie

    Wuhan University of Technology

    School of Management

    205 Luoshi Road

    Wuhan 430070

    P.R.China

  • III

    Julkaisija Julkaisuajankohta Vaasan yliopisto Syyskuu 2010 Tekijä(t) Julkaisun tyyppi

    Artikkelikokoelma Julkaisusarjan nimi, osan numero

    Yang Liu

    Acta Wasaensia, 227 Yhteystiedot ISBN

    978–952–476–314–1 ISSN 0355–2667, 1456–3738 Sivumäärä Kieli

    Vaasan yliopisto Teknillinen tiedekunta Tuotantotalouden yksikkö PL 700 65101 Vaasa 207 Englanti Julkaisun nimike Kestävän kilpailuedun toteuttaminen ennakoivaan operatiiviseen toimintaan globaalissa turbulenttisessa liiketoimintaympäristössä Tiivistelmä Tulevaisuuden valmistustoiminnan kilpailukyky dynaamisessa ja monimutkais- essa liiketoimintaympäristössä perustuu ennakoivaan strategiaan. Tutkimuksen tavoitteena on tunnistaa ja kehittää operatiivista kilpailukykyä kestävällä tavalla. Kestävä kilpailuetu muodostuu kilpailukykyisen liiketoimintastrategian hyödyntä- misestä liiketoimintatilanteiden hallinnassa. Nopeita strategioita hyödyntämällä integroidaan valmistus- ja teknologiastrategiat päätöksentekijöiden muutosjohta- misen profiileihin. Tutkimuskysymykset ovat: 1. Miten valmistustoiminnan kilpailukykyä voidaan arvioida? 2. Miten dynaamisia päätöksiä voidaan hyödyntää toiminnan hallinnassa glo-

    baalissa turbulenttisessa liiketoimintaympäristössä? 3. Miten kilpailukykypotentiaalia on mahdollista kehittää kestävällä tavalla? Tutkimuskysymyksiin etsittiin vastauksia viiden artikkelin avulla ja soveltamalla systeemi- ja kontigenssiteoriaa holistisen mallin muodostamiseen. Tutkimuksessa kehitetään teoreettinen lähestymistapa mallintamiseen, jossa integroidaan ne ydintekijät, jotka vaikuttavat operatiivisen kilpailukyvyn suorituskykyyn. Eli yh- distämällä valmistusstrategia ja muutosjohtaminen yrityksen teknologiatasoon voidaan käsitteellisten analyyttisten mallien avulla arvioida kilpailukyvyn tasoa kokonaisuutena. Dynaamisen päätöksenteon tukena on hyödynnetty Sense & Respond -menetel- mää resurssiallokaatioiden optimoimiseksi ja strategioiden muokkaamiseksi ope- ratiivisen kilpailukykypotentiaalin kehittämiseksi kestävällä tavalla. Globaalissa kontekstissa tehty empiirinen tutkimus osoittaa, että kuvatun kaltainen ennakoiva toimintatapa on keskeistä kestävän kilpailuedun toteuttami- sessa. Tutkimus kokoaa yhteen aiheen teoreettisen keskustelun ja käytännön hyö- dyt toiminnan johtamisesta globaalissa turbulentissa liiketoimintaympäristössä. Asiasanat Valmistusstrategia, transformationaalinen johtaminen, teknologiastrategia, operatiivinen kilpailukyky, strateginen ketteryys, dynaamiset päätökset, ennakoiva toiminta, kestävä kilpailuetu, turbulenttinen liiketoimintaympäristö

  • V

    Publisher Date of publication Vaasan yliopisto September 2010 Author(s) Type of publication

    Selection of Articles Name and number of series

    Yang Liu

    Acta Wasaensia, 227 Contact information ISBN

    978–952–476–314–1 ISSN 0355–2667, 1456–3738 Number of pages

    Language

    University of Vaasa Faculty of Technology Department of Production P.O. Box 700 FI–65101 Vaasa Finland 207 English Title of publication Implementing Sustainable Competitive Advantage for Proactive Operations in Global Turbulent Business Environments Abstract The future competitiveness of manufacturing operations under dynamic and com- plex business environments relies on forward-thinking strategies. The objective of this work is to identify and develop the operational competitiveness in a sustain- able manner by implementing Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA) for managing dynamic business situations. The research objective is explored through the following research questions: 1. How can competitiveness in manufacturing operations be evaluated? 2. How can dynamic decisions be utilized to manage operations in global turbu-

    lent business environments? 3. How can competitiveness potential be developed in a sustainable manner? To answer the research questions, this work presents five articles and applies sys- tems and contingency theories to build a holistic system. It develops a theoretical approach to modelling and integrating the core factors which affect operational competitiveness performance, i.e. manufacturing strategy and transformational leadership with technology level, into conceptual analytical models to evaluate overall competitiveness, and utilizes Sense & Respond (S&R) for dynamic deci- sion-making to optimize resource allocations and adjust strategies in order to de- velop competitiveness potential in a sustainable manner. Such proactive operations are proposed in this study as the key to implementing SCA with empirical research carried out in a global context, which provide both theoretical significance and also practical benefit to conclude the experience of managing operations in global turbulent business environments. Keywords Manufacturing strategy, transformational leadership, technology strategy, opera- tional competitiveness, strategic agility, dynamic decisions, proactive operations, sustainable competitive advantage (SCA), turbulent business environments

  • VII

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Prof. Josu Takala at the University of Vaasa for his constant guidance, encouragement, support and intensive examination of this dissertation. He is not only my academic advisor of my doctoral studies but also a mentor and good friend in my career and life. He has motivated me a lot in my research interest in industrial management, which has led to fruitful research work.

    I would like to thank the reviewers of my dissertation, Prof. Pekka Kess from the University of Oulu, Finland and Prof. Kefan Xie from Wuhan University of Technology, China, for your very valuable feedback and comments to improve this manuscript.

    My appreciation also goes to the editors and reviewers who gave valuable critique to improve my research work and publications, especially Distinguished Prof. Chinho Lin from National Cheng Kung University, Prof. Binshan Lin from Lou- isiana State University in Shreveport, Dr. Kongkiti Phusavat from Kasetsart Uni- versity, and Prof. Kristina Zgodavova from Technical University of Košice.

    Many thanks to our partner universities in China for their close collaboration and joint effort in providing assistance to carry out the empirical research, particularly Dr. Shubin Si and Prof. Shudong Sun, Department of Industrial Engineering, Northwestern Polytechnical University; Dr. Yun Chen and Qian Wu, School of Management, Wuhan University of Technology; Prof. Gang Liu, Dr. Dan Chen and Yan Shi, School of Management, Shandong University; and also School of Management, Huazhong University of Science & Technology; School of Elec- tronics and Information, Tongji University; School of International Business Ad- ministration, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

    I am grateful to Adj. Prof. Marja Naaranoja, Head of Industrial Management at the University of Vaasa who has been very helpful to improve my dissertation, and the science and publication editor Virpi Juppo and the publication secretary Tarja Salo for making this dissertation into a publishable format, as well as the researchers and staff of Industrial Management at the University of Vaasa: Prof. Tauno Kekäle, Prof. Petri Helo, Dr. Yohanes Kristianto, Rayko Toshev, Tanatip Kamdee, Ye Liu, Jussi Pennanen, Antti Kukkola, Antti Rajala, Ari Haapanen, Mikael Ehrs, Ulla Laakkonen for all kinds of help, and John Shepherd for English proofreading of the thesis; and also to my advisors Prof. Riku Jäntti at Helsinki University of Technology and Prof. Mohammed Elmusrati at the University of Vaasa for supporting my minor studies in Telecommunication Engineering.

  • VIII

    My sincere thanks also go to my employers at Vaasa University of Applied Sci- ences, Jorma Tuominen, Dean of Technology and Communication, and Kalevi Ylinen, Head of Department of Information Technology, and all the colleagues and students who encouraged and supported me in accomplishing my doctoral studies in addition to my full time job.

    Finally, I would like to thank my parents, my girlfriend and all people who sup- ported me during this most difficult time. This work could have never been achieved without your constant encouragement.

    Vaasa, September 2010

    Yang Liu

  • IX

    Contents

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................................................................VII

    ARTICLES........................................................................................................ XIII

    1 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................... 1 1.1 Background and objective .................................................................