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This paper investigates managerial practices that are conducive to the management of flexibility. Using data from manufacturing plants in the United States, this paper identifies managerial practices that manufacturing managers strongly demonstrate in plants that place a high emphasis on flexibility. The results indicate that managers who pursue flexibility, emphatically engage in team building, employee empowerment, and other relationship oriented practices that generate enthusiasm among employees. These practices seemingly motivate workers to deal with the uncertainty and changes, in the form of product mix, customer delivery schedule, capacity adjustments, etc., that characterize manufacturing flexibility. Furthermore, workers are entrusted with the traditional responsibilities of manufacturing managers, such as monitoring, problem solving, etc.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Industrial Management & Data Systems, volume 98, issue 6, in 1998 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI: 10.1108/02635579810236715.

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