Fostering knowledge creation to improve performance: the mediation role of manufacturing flexibility

José Pinheiro, Graça Miranda Silva, Álvaro Lopes Dias, Luís Filipe Lages, Miguel Torres Preto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the mediating role of manufacturing flexibility in the relationship between knowledge creation, technological turbulence and performance. In an increasingly competitive and changing environment, firms need to boost their technological and management know-how to adequately develop manufacturing flexibility. Design/methodology/approach: This study analyzes survey data collected from 370 manufacturing firms. Validity and reliability analyses were conducted using SPSS and Amos. The research hypotheses were tested using covariance-based structural equation modelling. Findings: The main findings show that knowledge creation positively and significantly affects business and operational performances directly, and indirectly, through manufacturing flexibility. Moreover, technological turbulence has a positive and significant effect on it. This finding contributes to understanding why some firms get better outcomes from manufacturing flexibility than others, a disputed issue in the literature. Practical implications: This study highlights the need for manufacturing firms to foster cultures of knowledge creation, to better educate and train employees and to develop other instruments of knowledge creation. Originality/value: This study makes several contributions to manufacturing flexibility literature: (1) establishing a link between technological turbulence and knowledge creation to develop manufacturing flexibility; (2) add empirical evidence on the relation between manufacturing flexibility and performance and (3) contributes to consolidating the mediation role of manufacturing flexibility in the relations between knowledge creation and business performance, as studies focussing on such a role are scarce in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1871-1892
JournalBusiness Process Management Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2020


  • Business performance
  • Knowledge creation
  • Manufacturing flexibility
  • Operational performance
  • Technological turbulence


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