International shopfloor level productivity differences: an exploratory study

Harm‐Jan Steenhuis, Erik J. de Bruijn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose: Operations managers need to consider where to manufacture, or outsource, their manufacturing activities. A factor in location choice is productivity differences at different locations. This study aims to focus on determining productivity at the shopfloor level since this is the place where the differences in productivity ultimately affect the international competition position.

    Design/methodology/approach: Causes for international differences in productivity for an essentially equal production technology, with an essentially equal level of shopfloor skills are determined from case analysis.

    Findings: It was found that working conditions, degree of centralization, the national attitude towards time, and the motivation of the workforce influence productivity.

    Practical implications: Productivity is dependent on factors that are connected with the external environment. Consequently, companies can not assume that productivity levels will be the same when moving to another country.

    Originality/value: The paper illustrates factors, some outside of the company's control, that affect productivity and therefore the cost of international production.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)42-55
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of manufacturing technology management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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