Title: Benchmarking: success producer or failure preventer?

Authors: Dana M. Johnson; Nada R. Sanders

Addresses: School of Business and Economics, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA ' Department of Management, College of Business and Economics, Lehigh University, 621 Taylor Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA

Abstract: Research on benchmarking has been extensive. It has not addressed the issue of how benchmarking impacts the capabilities or performance of firms. Benchmarking efforts may lead to either failure preventing or success producing capabilities. As firm capabilities evolve over time, it is critical to understand when benchmarking discoveries and eventual process changes, become success producers. A failure preventer may result from a firm using benchmarking practises to 'stay in the game' or status quo, merely maintaining their existence and resulting in efficiency as opposed to effectiveness. In this study, we relate research on operational strategy, capabilities, and firm performance to extend Varadarajan's research in the context of benchmarking in order to specifically identify when benchmarking is a success producer, leading to capabilities that result in a sustainable, competitive advantage. We develop a conceptual framework to demonstrate these linkages.

Keywords: benchmarking; conceptual modelling; operations strategy; capability; performance measurement; success producers; failure preventers; firm performance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2013.053617

International Journal of Business Excellence, 2013 Vol.6 No.3, pp.331 - 347

Published online: 09 Apr 2013 *

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