American and European manufacturing practices: An analytical framework and comparisons

Gyula Vastag, D. Clay Whybark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a general analytical framework for making bilateral comparisons of manufacturing practices. The approach suggests a grouping of the data, defines a conservative test called a pure regional effect, and matches the data types to the appropriate statistical tests. The methodology is used to compare manufacturing practices in North America with those in Western Europe using data compiled by the Global Manufacturing Research Group. The broad hypothesis tested is that the two regions are more similar than different. For the two industries studied (small machine tools and nonfashion textiles), this hypothesis holds. Fewer than 10% of the 119 variables investigated have a significant pure regional effect. This suggests that the lack of success of joint ventures between North American and European firms must be attributed to factors other than differences in manufacturing practices. These variables for which significant effects were found reflect differences in external orientation, asset utilization and the management of details. Despite the overall similarities, differences in these factors could be important for American Managers contemplating partnerships with European companies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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