The mediating role of organisational culture in the relationship between region-based firm ownership type (RBFOT) and manufacturing performance : a test on the apparel industry in Sri Lanka : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Massey University, New Zealand

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Massey University
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In today’s globalised context, manufacturing firms belonging to various regions of the world expand their businesses beyond borders and gradually become international, multinational, and global companies investing in various countries and regions of the world. Most of these firms establish foreign affiliates and compete with the local (domestic) firms in host countries. In this context, international and cross-cultural operations management studies have high theoretical and practical value in understanding how management practices, systems, techniques, and norms account for the manufacturing performance differences between foreign and local firms. Understanding and explaining the reasons for differences in the manufacturing performance of local and foreign-owned firms is an underexplored research area, especially in the developing regions of the world. This study adopts a cross-cultural operations management perspective and hypothesises that differences in organisational culture traits (related management practice orientations) of firms belonging to different regions of the world account for manufacturing performance differences. The study examines the relationship between Region-Based Firm Ownership Type (RBFOT) and manufacturing performance, and the mediating role of the organisational culture (an important influence on manufacturing practices) in this relationship. The study was based in Sri Lanka (South Asia) with the apparel industry as the context, and local firms are compared with foreign firms from two other regions: Western and East Asian. Semi-structured interviews were used to clarify the research context and to understand how foreign-owned firms set up, operate and establish organisational cultures in Sri Lanka. The subsequent quantitative study covered 93 firms with data aggregated to the firm level to test the mediation model. To test the model, ANOVA and parallel multiple mediation analysis using regression-based SPSS PROCESS macro were adopted. The findings revealed that organisational culture (measured using Denison’s culture traits and related management practice orientations) is a significant mediator in explaining the difference in the manufacturing performance of RBFOTs. Moreover, significant differences in culture traits and related management practice orientations were evident between Western, East Asian, and South Asian firms generating different levels of manufacturing performance. Other contributions include developing a new scale to measure the manufacturing performance of apparel firms and validating Denison’s Organisational Culture Survey (DOCS) in Sri Lanka. Overall, the study contributes to the theory and practice of international and cross-cultural operations management in general and apparel industrial management in particular.
Clothing trade, Ownership, Industrial efficiency, Corporate culture, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka