Strategies for sustaining manufacturing competitiveness: Comparative case studies in Australia and Sweden

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Abstract

This paper reports an investigation of local sustainable production in Australia and
Sweden aimed at exploring the factors contributing to survival and competitiveness of
manufacturing companies. In Australia, six companies were studied in 2010, with
comparisons being made with three of them from earlier projects. In Sweden, eight
manufacturing companies were studied on two occasions 30 years apart, in 1980 and 2010.
To provide a valid comparative perspective a common format for data collection and analysis
was used. There has been a shift in the nature of competition in both Sweden and Australia
due to an increasing complexity of the global business environment as well as changes in
technology and customer expectations. Despite the differences in country context, the
findings suggest that all the manufacturing companies have a good awareness of the elements
of the market environment and the relationships with their competitive strategy. However, in
general, the Swedish companies have more experience of managing the risks and benefits
from operating in the international environment. The results of the research are based on a
relatively small sample of case companies in a limited number of industrial sectors. There are
methodology implications for future research in the area. The research results have practical
implications for the manufacturing industry, especially for companies operating in a
competitive international environment. The paper is based on original case research and
comparative analysis of data from different geographical contexts. It contributes to both
theory and management practice about the strategic resources, decision choices, competitive
environments and firm values needed to address external market demands as well as in
building internal capabilities.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-37
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

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© Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2016 Published by Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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