Competitive Capabilities among Manufacturing Plants in Developing, Emerging, and Industrialized Countries: A Comparative Analysis


Corresponding author.


Competitive capabilities have been defined as a plant's actual performance relative to its competitors, with the most commonly investigated capabilities being quality, delivery, flexibility, and cost. However, most research in this realm has investigated capabilities within developed countries, and neglected the context of developing and emerging nations, which are increasingly becoming viable economic entities in global supply chains in their own right. The present study fills this gap and carries out a comparative analysis of competitive capabilities among plants in developing, emerging, and industrialized countries. Basing our arguments on the resource-based view of the firm, we suggest that the influence of competitive capabilities on each other varies among plants in differentially industrialized regions. Specifically, we suggest that, on average, competitive capabilities tend to influence each other to a greater degree in plants in emerging and developing countries compared to industrialized countries. Along similar lines, we suggest that the influence of the four competitive capabilities on performance improvement is manifested more strongly among plants in emerging and developing countries than among plants in industrialized nations. We investigate these contentions with data from 1,211 plants in 21 countries. The results are particularly important for decision makers as they decide on the increasingly global location of their manufacturing operations or the configuration of their global supply chains.