PhD Thesis Title: The Impact of Mass Customisation Capability on Operational Performance
Supervisor: Professor Brian Fynes
External Examiners: Professor Ronan McIvor, Ulster University
Professor Jose AD Machicha, Universidad de Seville
The aim of this research is to develop and test an integrated model of manufacturing
practices, mass customisation capability and operational performance using both the
resource-based view and the contingency perspectives as theoretical lenses.
We found empirical support for the positive effect of investments in cost reduction programs,
flexible manufacturing practices and workforce training and development practices on mass
customisation capability. In doing so, we tested a series of hypotheses linking manufacturing
practices with mass customisation capability.
We also empirically tested the existence of trade-off and/or synergy in mass customisation
capability. Our results indicate that mass customisation capability has a positive effect on
both flexibility and cost performance. This suggests that firms can compete on more than one
dimension at the same time. We contributed to the on-going debate amongst operations
management scholars between trade-offs and cumulative capabilities. In addition, we found
support for the sequential approach of sand cone model (for flexibility and cost). This is a
major theoretical contribution to the relevant literature as well as the operations management
Furthermore, our study makes a methodological contribution by utilising both survey data
from GMRG and secondary data from World Bank and United Nations to test the hypotheses.
This is a novel approach in operations management. To date, the mass customisation
literature has not drawn on this data in empirical studies. In this regard, we found that the
relationship between mass customisation capability and cost performance is stronger at lower
levels of logistics performance index. We also found that the relationship between mass
customisation capability and cost performance is stronger at high levels of world risk index.
This study provides managerial insights by illustrating an effective context-practicecapability-
performance solution. This study contributes to both the academic and practitioner
community with potentially compelling answers to the question of why developing
capabilities are or are not always successful.