The labor-machine dyad and its influence on mix flexibility

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operations strategy, flexibility, empirical research


The joint, mediating, and interactive effects of three elements of labor and machine flexibility on mix flexibility were tested empirically in a PCB assembly plant. Both subjective and objective data were collected. Some elements of labor and machine flexibility mediated the relationship between an emphasis on competitive priorities and mix flexibility. The interactive effects of machine and labor flexibility on mix flexibility confirmed prior findings that the pursuit of total flexibility is not desirable. For low levels of labor flexibility, increasing machine flexibility yields at the most a very moderate improvement in mix flexibility. When labor flexibility is high, increasing machine flexibility proves to be counter‐productive. These results may suggest that the traditional forms of labor flexibility need to evolve when technological capabilities are more fully exploited.

Recommended Citation

Karuppan, Corinne M., and Daniel C. Ganster. "The labor–machine dyad and its influence on mix flexibility." Journal of Operations Management 22, no. 6 (2004): 533-556.

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Management and Information Technology