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Top-Down, Bottom-Up, or Both? Toward an Integrative Perspective on Operations Strategy Formation
Journal of Operations Management
  • Yoon Hee Kim, Georgia Southern University
  • Fabian J. Sting, Erasmus University of Rotterdam
  • Christoph H. Loch, Cambridge Judge Business School
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Operations strategy is formed via complex processes that transpire in multiple directions at multiple organizational levels. While most previous studies focus on the “macro-level” process of strategy formation from the dominant top-down perspective, this study investigates the “micro-level” process of strategy formation that governs interactions among competitive priorities, objectives, and action plans within operations. Using 111 (59 top-down and 52 bottom-up) action plans collected from six German manufacturing plants, we build on Kim and Arnold's (1996) framework and propose an integrated process model of operations strategy formation that encompasses both top-down planning and bottom-up learning. We also identify a contingency factor that affects their balance: centralized versus decentralized organizational structure. Finally, based on the analysis of their respective strategic content, we provide evidence concerning the complementary roles of top-down and bottom-up action plans in operations strategy.

Citation Information
Yoon Hee Kim, Fabian J. Sting and Christoph H. Loch. "Top-Down, Bottom-Up, or Both? Toward an Integrative Perspective on Operations Strategy Formation" Journal of Operations Management Vol. 32 Iss. 7-8 (2014) p. 462 - 474 ISSN: 1873-1317
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