Management practices of Australian manufacturing firms: Why are some firms more innovative?

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Journal Article
International Journal of Production Research, 2014, 52 (21), pp. 6496 - 6517
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© 2014 Taylor and Francis. Whilst many studies have focused on the adoption of individual or sets of innovative management practices (e.g. lean production), fewer studies have evaluated a diverse set of management practices and firm contextual factors which may limit (or enable) the accumulation of groups of innovations in organisations. The Australian manufacturing sector is a novel setting to investigate such issues due to, among other reasons, a protracted decline of the competitive position of the sector. In this paper, we use a data-set from the Australian government funded management practices benchmarking project which was part of the World Management Survey and empirically evaluate why some companies have more innovative management practices than others. The conceptual model developed draws mainly on innovation diffusion theory and prior empirical findings. We find that (1) firms which adopt clusters of better management practices have greater performance; and (2) several firm characteristics explain the adoption of better management practices, such as education level of employees and managers, firm size, ownership by a multinational firm, and diffused ownership structure. The study has practical implications for policy-makers and stakeholders who are interested in supporting the adoption of better management practices by firms to enhance productivity in the manufacturing sector.
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