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The influence of manufacturing contexts on additive manufacturing-enabled competitive capabilities (01a Articolo in rivista)

Khorram Niaki M., Nonino F., Tafakkori K., Torabi S. A., Kazemian I.

Purpose: This paper presents a contingency analysis of additive manufacturing's (AM) impacts, proposes a novel form of AM-enabled competitive capabilities and explores manufacturing contexts (including product-operation-organization-related factors) influencing those capabilities. Design/methodology/approach: A theoretical model incorporating manufacturing competitive capabilities and contingency concepts is developed and validated using an empirical study on 105 manufacturing firms using AM. Structural equation modeling is applied for statistical data analysis. Findings: The results indicate that the production volume and material type have contingency effects on AM-enabled product quality, cost reduction and green capabilities. Besides, it has been demonstrated that the degree of a country's economic development and the firm's experience have contingency impacts on AM's capabilities as well. Research limitations/implications: The contextual settings employed in this study are limited. A future contingency analysis requires further exploration of other factors (e.g. different AM technologies or application sectors) through in-depth case studies. Future studies can also be built upon the proposed framework to generalize the model for analyzing other emerging manufacturing technologies. Practical implications: Uncertainties around AM implementation and its consequences place the context of evaluation as an essential facet. The derived insights aid practitioners in aligning the firm's internal characteristics (i.e. manufacturing and organizational contexts) with AM's promising competitive capabilities. Originality/value: The study is among the first analysis to empirically and rigorously establishes the contingency effects of manufacturing and organizational factors on competitive capabilities related to AM, using a representative sample of manufacturers spanning different countries, firm sizes and other investigated manufacturing contexts.
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