Title: Exploitation versus exploration: the influence of manufacturing flexibility and the environment

Authors: Javier Tamayo Torres, Jose Benitez-Amado, Ma. Nieves Perez-Arostegui, Vanesa Barrales-Molina

Addresses: Management Department, Universidad de Granada Facultad de Ciencias Economicas y Empresariales, Campus de Cartuja s/n, 18071, Granada, Spain. ' Management Department, Universidad de Granada Facultad de Ciencias Economicas y Empresariales, Campus de Cartuja s/n, 18071, Granada, Spain. ' Management Department, Universidad de Granada Facultad de Ciencias Economicas y Empresariales, Campus de Cartuja s/n, 18071, Granada, Spain. ' Management Department, Universidad de Granada Facultad de Ciencias Economicas y Empresariales, Campus de Cartuja s/n, 18071, Granada, Spain

Abstract: Environmental dynamics have transformed manufacturing flexibility into one of the strategic keys for organisations. This paper analyses whether the implementation of manufacturing flexibility, as solution to the continuous changes of the environment, will encourage exploration of new knowledge and exploitation of a company|s abilities. This relationship was measured in 231 production firms. The results obtained show that the firms develop exploration of new knowledge at the same time as they exploit their abilities. The results also show that some of the dimensions of manufacturing flexibility encourage the development of both exploration and exploitation. Finally, we find a moderator effect in these relationships if we take into account environmental dynamics.

Keywords: manufacturing flexibility; exploration; exploitation; environmental dynamics; flexible manufacturing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBE.2011.039386

International Journal of Business Environment, 2011 Vol.4 No.1, pp.92 - 105

Received: 05 Mar 2010
Accepted: 09 Mar 2010

Published online: 01 Apr 2011 *

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