Home-Owned versus Foreign-Owned Firms in the UK Automotive Industry: Exploring the Microfoundations of Ambidextrous Production and Supply Chain Positioning

Room 108 University House
Thursday 27 February 2020 (12:00-14:30)

Kiran Raulia: k.raulia@bham.ac.uk

Speaker: Dr Amir Qamar (Lecturer in Strategic Management, Birmingham Business School)


The UK automotive industry is home to a large number of foreign firms, demonstrating the open nature of competition. The industry requires both exploitative and explorative capabilities, while contingency theory suggests that firms align their internal structures with contextual factors. With these considerations in mind, the aim of this study was to investigate whether it was possible to distinguish home-owned (UK) and foreign-owned firms based upon: a) the microfoundations of ambidextrous production, which are conceptualised as lean and agile routines; and b) the tier at which these firms operate in the automotive supply chain. Home-owned and foreign-owned firms were found to be significantly more likely to be operating upstream and downstream in the automotive supply chain respectively. To this extent, the findings support a contingency theory explanation, suggesting that firms align their performance priorities with contextual factors. However, we argue that home-owned and foreign-owned firms have evolved to compete based on their different innovative capabilities, which are located at different tiers of the automotive supply chain. On this basis, although neither home-owned nor foreign-owned firms were found to be endogenously ambidextrous, we argue that foreign-owned firms internationalise into the UK automotive sector to exploit the explorative capabilities acquired by home-owned firms operating upstream in automotive supply chains, thus enabling ambidextrous capabilities at an exogenous, industrial level.

The Speaker

Dr Amir Qamar is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Strategic Management at the Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. His research interest is primarily in lean and agile production strategies within the global automotive industry. Based on a thorough understanding of strategy within a manufacturing context, he is also interested in multiplier effects within certain supply chains, the employment footprint of MNEs, R&D, and productivity. He has published in referred journals including Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, International Journal of Production Research, Production Planning & Control, International Business Review and Applied Economics.

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