|dc.description.abstract||Despite the large body of research devoted to the topic of supply chain integration in operations and supply chain management literature, most studies agree that the concept is still undertheorised. There is also a dearth of empirical research on supply chain integration comprising external suppliers and customers and internal company integration, and weaknesses in our understanding of the interrelationships between the levels of supply chain integration. This research addresses these gaps in literature and investigates how supply chain integration might lead to improved competitive advantage.
A theoretical framework was developed from the literature and encompassed three levels of external supplier and customer and internal company integration. This framework is anchored by the resource-based view (RBV) addressing a theoretical gap in the way this theory might be used across the supply chain to enhance competitive advantage. Following a pilot case study, five case studies were conducted in the context of garment manufacturers supply chains. The data collection process adopted a novel methodological approach through obtaining evidence from manufacturers, suppliers and customers across each case study supply chain.
The outcome of the case study research is an empirical model of supply chain integration. The empirical findings suggest that supply chain integration is achieved through integration at the three levels of internal, supplier and customer, and that the benefits reaped from internal company integration is higher in the presence of customer integration. The importance of this finding is that it addresses a frequently asked question in recent literature about the relevance of internal company integration to the successful implementation of supply chain integration. Moreover, this research contributed to supply chain management literature through theoretical and practical application of RBV across geographically dispersed garment manufacturers’ supply chains. The empirical findings suggest that garment manufacturers benefited from inbound spillover (unintended) rents through integrating with their international customers.
The findings also suggest that the developed empirical model informs the concept of supply chain visibility; an emerging area of research in recent years. Finally, this thesis provides practical implications and some directions for future research.||en_US