A comparative case study of sustaining quality as a competitive advantage

Hung Chung Su, Kevin Linderman, Roger G. Schroeder, Andrew H. Van De Ven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many organizations have achieved high levels of quality performance only to lose it later on. These firms that were once quality leaders can no longer compete on the quality of their products or services. This research develops a theoretical understanding of how organizations can sustain a quality advantage. It offers a conceptual definition of sustaining a quality advantage which involves not only sustaining a high level of quality performance, but also sustaining a high consistency of quality performance. A comparative case study provides evidence of three capabilities that distinguish firms with different levels of sustaining quality. These capabilities include: (1) meta-learning, (2) sensing weak signals, and (3) resilience to quality disruptions. The case analysis argues that meta-learning helps sustain a high level of quality performance, while sensing weak signals and resilience improves the consistency of quality performance. This study offers a dynamic capability-based strategy that explains how to sustain a competitive advantage in quality, which may also have implications for sustaining other operational competitive advantages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-445
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Volume32
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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