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– The purpose of this paper is to understand the competitive priorities of manufacturers in India, and examine the level of agreement or strategic consensus between senior executives and manufacturing managers on manufacturing competitive priorities in light of the prevalent culture.


– Survey data collected from 156 respondents from 78 manufacturing units based on a national sample in India are used to test the hypotheses using the paired samples t‐tests and multivariate analysis of variance.


– A relatively high emphasis by both levels of managers on quality, compared to the other three competitive priorities, is noteworthy and consistent with the global trends. The emphasis on delivery is a close second. Differences in competitive priorities exist across managerial levels in India despite the high power distance and low individualism.

Research limitations/implications

– The effect of ownership as private or public company was examined and no significant differences found, but data could not be collected on the ownership structure such as wholly owned domestic firms, foreign subsidiaries, or joint ventures. and whether a firm is a supplier to a multinational company. It may also be noted that a majority of the manufacturing companies in this paper came from three industries – chemicals, fabricated metals, and electronic and electrical equipment – and, hence, the findings of the paper might have been unduly influenced by the prevalent practices in these industries.

Practical implications

– The paper informs global managers and firms seeking to outsource to, or invest in, India that the Indian managers place significantly high emphasis on quality and delivery, but not as much on product variety or ability to make frequent changes to product design and production volume. The managers in India need to take note of prevailing differences in managerial priorities and efforts need to be made such that the priorities are aligned and manufacturing strategy may be unified and coordinated.


– In the Indian context, this is the first study that deployed multiple respondents to understand the manufacturing competitive priorities, and also the first to examine strategic consensus in operations strategy.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in International Journal of Operations & Production Management, volume 30, issue 8, in 2010 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI: 10.1108/01443571011068207.

Peer Reviewed






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