Term of Award

Summer 2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (Ph.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Committee Chair

Mark Hanna

Committee Member 1

Deepak Iyengar

Committee Member 2

Manouchehr Tabatabaei


Operations strategy literature has considered the relative weighting of the operational capabilities of cost, quality, delivery, and flexibility as a common method to enhance a firm’s performance in the marketplace. In this literature, one stream of research advocates a focused approach, which suggests that successful firms should choose to focus on developing mainly one operations capability. In contrast, another research stream recommends a combinative approach that suggests simultaneous pursuing of a diverse set of operational capabilities. In two essays in this dissertation, we first investigate the link between operations strategies (focus vs. combinative) and market performance under certain market boundary conditions. Following that, in the second essay, we explore how incumbents operationally respond to a new rival’s entry into their market. More specifically, in the first essay, the role of market competition and market dominance is taken into account in the decision between focus and combinative operations strategy. In the second essay, we study how incumbent firms react to the entry of a new rival to their market by applying a focused vs. combinative operations strategy. To test the hypotheses, longitudinal regression models are applied to a rich market-level dataset providing route-level market and operational observations from the US airline industry between 2006 and 2018. The findings indicate that the focused approach in developing operational capabilities is associated with higher financial performance at the market level. However, in the first essay, it is shown that in a competitive market and for firms with higher market power, incumbents are found to be better off if they pursue a broader mix of capabilities. Besides, in the second essay, the results indicate that incumbent firms adjust their operations strategy in response to a market entry. Particularly, incumbents become more operationally focused when a new rival enters their market. With a unique focus on operational performance by airline routes, this research advances the operations strategy, resource allocation, and market entry literature by highlighting the crucial role of the operations strategy in achieving a competitive advantage in the market.

Research Data and Supplementary Material