Trade-offs are not exogenous

(2013)

Abstract

Trade-offs between competitive priorities are often seen as exogenous – managers accept them as a given downside while simultaneously addressing multiple competitive priorities. However, some companies seem to face fewer trade-offs than others. The question is how companies reduce their trade-offs to successfully compete on multiple competitive priorities simultaneously. We address this question by theorising that bundles of action programmes are needed to reduce trade-offs between competitive priorities. We examine four Swiss manufacturing plants and show how the selection of action programmes influences the simultaneous competition on multiple competitive priorities. We show that successful competition on multiple competitive priorities does not happen by accident but is achieved by aligning competitive priorities, action programmes, infrastructural/structural changes and contextual factors.

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