Title: The influence of workforce agility on external manufacturing flexibility of Iranian SMEs
Author: Somaieh Alavi
Address: Department of Management and Industrial Engineering, Foolad Institute of Technology, Foolad shahr, Isfahan, Iran
Abstract: A lack of workforce agility has been reported as one of the main reasons that some enterprises have difficulty keeping pace with markets and technological changes. Shortage of research on the consequences of workforce agility can be one of the main reasons for inconsideration about workforce agility in SMEs. In order to contribute to this debate, this research investigates whether and how extent workforce agility is a critical factor for promoting external manufacturing flexibility, as a key component in dynamic environment. The study is conducted by gathering sample from 161 Iranian SMEs. Supporting the hypotheses, the results suggest workforce agility enhances new product, mix, and volume flexibility. Moreover, testing the relationship between external manufacturing flexibility dimensions shows that mix flexibility encourages volume and new product flexibility in the SMEs.
Keywords: agile workforce; new product flexibility; mix flexibility; volume flexibility; workforce agility; manufacturing flexibility; Iran; manufacturing SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; flexible manufacturing; product mix.
Int. J. of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2016 Vol.8, No.1, pp.111 - 127
Date of acceptance: 11 Apr 2015
Available online: 06 Mar 2016