The impact of context on benchmarking and best practices research

Ville Hallavo

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Benchmarking best practice has been found to lead into enhanced firm performance. Yet, current literature in the field of operations and supply chain management has not come to a conclusion on the reasons behind these results. On the one hand, some researchers claim that best practices can be used as a universal tool-kit that can be applied under all circumstances. On the other hand, a growing number of researchers rather support the idea that the success of benchmarking best practice is context-dependent. In support of the context-dependent view, the thesis examines ways how the context impacts the use of best practices and resulting outcomes. The thesis consists of four papers that investigate contextual aspects of benchmarking and best practices with different theoretical angles, empirical material and methodologies. The theoretical foundation of the research is laid mostly onto contingency theory. Empirical material consists of survey data from the Russian manufacturing industry, longitudinal multiple case survey and interview data of Finnish manufacturing plants and secondary sources. Methodologies used range from hierarchical regression analysis to qualitative comparative analysis and longitudinal multiple case study. The first paper titled "Superior Performance Through Supply Chain Fit: A Synthesis" examines whether aligning firm operational responsiveness with its environment leads into superior firm performance. The second paper titled "Evolution of Lean Bundles: Holistic Long Term Use Pays Off" investigates whether adaptation and holistic use of lean practices leads into enhanced firm performance in the long term. The third paper titled "Impact of Ownership Change on Plant Practice-Performance Dynamics: a Longitudinal Multiple Case Study" pursues to explain how changes in the status of plant ownership impact firm practice-performance dynamics in the long term. The fourth paper titled "Benchmarking Ferdows's Model to a Service Context" presents another form of benchmarking: conceptual benchmarking.
Translated title of the contributionThe impact of context on benchmarking and best practices research
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Kuula, Markku, Supervising Professor
  • Putkiranta, Antero, Thesis Advisor, External person
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5989-1
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5990-7
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • benchmarking
  • best practices
  • performance
  • context
  • contingency theory
  • supply chain fit
  • lean bundles
  • ownership change
  • Ferdows


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