Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering


Applied sciences, Product life cycles, Strategic flexibility, Volume flexibility


Waguih El Maraghy




From a system thinking perspective, the competition / cooperation boundaries govern the evolution of a firm's adaptive strategic behaviour and drive it towards its desired objectives. Strategic flexibility is considered a sustainability advantage in today's global competitive environment. This study explores the strategic flexibility capability that fits with the market requirement and the degree of competition it faces in its market(s).

After exploring the link between the manufacturing objectives and their effect on the total industry performance in terms of profitability, product availability and capacity utilization, this study quantify the strategic effect of applying five different strategies on the enterprise strategic flexibility capability. By modeling and analyzing different scenarios using a system dynamic simulation approach and considering the market competitive dynamics, this model introduces the volume flexibility as a macro strategic measure that affects the firm's intended production capacity. The effect of enterprise volume flexibility on its market share is studied and reported.

The research explored how operations management theory on volume flexibility can be linked to the dynamic capability theory to develop new macro measures for the enterprise manufacturing strategy. Results show that matching between the firm capabilities and its external environment is a critical factor for organizational success. While the intense of competition govern the product life cycle duration and rate of change, success level is proportional to the competitor simultaneous actions and reactions and the effect differs from market to another. Results show that different product life cycle affects the industry speed and that may change the wining strategies adopted by the competing firms. As a result there are no ultimate right strategies for firms to follow. While tradeoffs between flexibility and cost are confirmed, the competitive advantage occurs when it is unique to the company and matches with the market variables for limited time. In conclusion, for industrial organization to achieve high productivity, efficiency and maximum utilization rate they need to select from a wide range of strategic capabilities rather than concentrating on a single capability or process to match the requirements of the external environment with responsive rate that matches the industry clock speed.