Resource Based Strategy: Competences and Coordination Methods

Developing the ability to continuously improve performance is strategically important to firms in the manufacturing sector. Continuous improvement (CI) is widely considered to be an organizational competence, however, the micro-foundations of this competence especially the details of how the competence of CI is developed in an organization have not been researched systematically. In this research project, the concept of routines is adopted as a critical component of organizational competence.


Participation observation is chosen as the main data collection method for case studies so that in-depth understanding of different types of CI routines is obtained. Then how each individual routine works and how multiple routines are organized together are further studied through analysing the coordination methods applied. The preliminary findings reveal that the practical difficulty of implementing CI lies not only in introducing CI routines into the firm but also in creating a dynamic fit between the CI routines and multiple aspects of the firm.


Research background

Practically implementing continuous improvement is not a new idea to managers at all, but many organizations still find it to be a difficult process. On the other hand,


Research aims

The main research aim is to obtain in-depth understanding of the organizational competence of CI and respective underlying routines through the study of coordination methods.


Current work and completed research

Three case studies with local UK manufacturing firms have been completed. Data analysis and case study writing are currently in progress.


Future research

Practical tools that facilitate the CI implementation process are to be developed and tested with a wider range of industrial partners.


Current collaborators

Philips Avent, Prism Electronics, Weetabix Food



Dr Ken Platts, John Mills, Dr Mark Khater, Yue Zhao

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