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A study on the relation between manufacturing strategy, company size, country culture and product and process innovation in Europe

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With the goal of contributing to the manufacturing strategy formulation discussion within international manufacturing networks, a set of data analyses were performed with the aim of empirically supporting conceptual approaches. This article presents the results of establishing correlations between four sets of data pertaining to 14 European countries. Six inter-relations are investigated between the datasets, pertaining to manufacturing strategy, distribution of company size, product and production related innovation and measures of culture of the countries. The analyses draw on empirical data, collected independently by EU organisms and within the International Manufacturing Strategy Survey (IMSS) IV consortium, with less than three years apart in date of collection. Hofstede's (1980, 2001) measures of power distance, masculinity, individuality and uncertainty avoidance constitute the cultural measures considered. Pearson correlations resulted mostly in low levels of correlation, but considerable levels of determination were unveiled. These concern inverse correlations between rates of specific kinds of innovation in manufacturing companies and the percentage of large companies per country as well as the employment of a specific kind of manufacturing strategy. The results provide an overview of European specific dimensions of manufacturing and how they match each other, based on a recent time frame (2003 to 2005).

Keywords: international manufacturing networks, IMN, innovative companies, correlation analysis, manufacturing strategy, company size, country culture, process innovation, Europe, product innovation

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