Title: Lean bundles and operational performance: the moderating effect of operational absorptive capacity
Authors: Cong Wu; Zhan-wen Niu; Chao-chao Liu; Fudong Yang
Addresses: College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Weijin Road Campus: No. 92, Weijin Road, Nankai District, Tianjin, 300072, China ' College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Weijin Road Campus: No. 92, Weijin Road, Nankai District, Tianjin, 300072, China ' School of Management, Tianjin University of Commerce, No. 409, Guangrong Road, Beichen District, Tianjin, 300314, China; Research Center for Management Innovation and Evaluation, Tianjin University of Commerce, No. 409, Guangrong Road, Beichen District, Tianjin, 300314, China ' Both-lean (Tianjin) Enterprise Management Consulting Co., Ltd., Huayuan Science Park (Tianjin Binhai Hi-Tech Industrial Development Area), No. 13 Guiyuan Road, Tianjin, 300384, China
Abstract: The positive effect of lean bundles (LBs) on operational performance (OP) has been widely investigated. However, the moderating mechanism on the relationship between LBs and OP remains unclear. Lean literature suggested that the contextual factors (such as, plant size) would affect the effectiveness of LBs. However, existing literatures focused on external environmental factors, whereas this research examined the effect of contextual factors inside of firms. As a source of competitive advantage, operational absorptive capacity (OAC) can improve the ability to integrate resources through acquiring and utilising knowledge effectively, thereby enhancing the efficiency of production management activities. Hence, OAC were introduced to explore the moderating effect of OAC on the relationship between LBs and OP. This research identified four bundles of lean practices, namely just in time (JIT), total preventive maintenance (TPM), total quality management (TQM) and human resource management (HRM). Ordinary least square analysis was adopted for analysing whether OAC can enhance the effectiveness of the LBs. This research deepens the exploration of the relationship between the LBs and OAC. Moreover, this research contribute to literature on the mechanism that LBs effect OP by offering new insights with contingency theory.
Keywords: operational performance; operational absorptive capacity; OAC; lean bundles.
International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management, 2023 Vol.37 No.1, pp.24 - 48
Accepted: 01 Dec 2020
Published online: 19 May 2023 *