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The influence of workforce agility on external manufacturing flexibility of Iranian SMEs


  • Somaieh Alavi


A lack of workforce agility has been reported as one of the main reasons that some enterprises have difficulty keeping pace with markets and technological changes. Shortage of research on the consequences of workforce agility can be one of the main reasons for inconsideration about workforce agility in SMEs. In order to contribute to this debate, this research investigates whether and how extent workforce agility is a critical factor for promoting external manufacturing flexibility, as a key component in dynamic environment. The study is conducted by gathering sample from 161 Iranian SMEs. Supporting the hypotheses, the results suggest workforce agility enhances new product, mix, and volume flexibility. Moreover, testing the relationship between external manufacturing flexibility dimensions shows that mix flexibility encourages volume and new product flexibility in the SMEs.

Suggested Citation

  • Somaieh Alavi, 2016. "The influence of workforce agility on external manufacturing flexibility of Iranian SMEs," International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 8(1), pages 111-127.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijtlid:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:111-127

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mireia Valverde & Olga Tregaskis & Chris Brewster, 2000. "Labor flexibility and firm performance," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 6(4), pages 649-661, November.
    2. Hallgren, Mattias & Olhager, Jan, 2009. "Flexibility configurations: Empirical analysis of volume and product mix flexibility," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 746-756, August.
    3. repec:kap:iaecre:v:6:y:2000:i:4:p:649-661 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Donald Gerwin, 1993. "Manufacturing Flexibility: A Strategic Perspective," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(4), pages 395-410, April.
    5. Sharifi, H. & Zhang, Z., 1999. "A methodology for achieving agility in manufacturing organisations: An introduction," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 7-22, May.
    6. Sharp, J. M. & Irani, Z. & Desai, S., 1999. "Working towards agile manufacturing in the UK industry," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 155-169, May.
    7. Chen, IJ & Calantone, RJ & Chung, C-H, 1992. "The marketing-manufacturing interface and manufacturing flexibility," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 431-443, July.
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