The Role of Modularity and Integration in Enhancing Manufacturing Performance: An Absorptive Capacity Perspective

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Finance and Supply Chain Management

Publication Date



Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the impacts of modularity‐based manufacturing practices (MBMP) and manufacturing system integration (MSI) on manufacturing performance (MP) using absorptive capacity as an important enabling factor.

Design/methodology/approach: Constructs were developed through a comprehensive literature review. Structural equation modeling was used to test the research model and hypotheses based on a large sample of 303 US manufacturing firms.

Findings: Both MBMP and MSI have significant impacts on MP. The positive effects of MBMP on MP are stronger than those of system integration. The absorptive capacity of a firm facilitates better use of modularity practices and system integration.

Practical implications: More attention should be given to modularity practices in resource allocation planning. Also, system integration together with modularity practices can generate significantly higher MP.

Originality/value: The paper is the first large‐scale empirical study to examine the effects of absorptive capacity on MSI and MBMP, which in turn impacts MP. Furthermore, the findings empirically support that a combination strategy of modularity and system integration can help manufacturing firms to achieve higher performance.


This article was originally published in Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management


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