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Larissa-Rebecca Fleischer

The creation, market deployment and performance relevance of market-focused flexibility


The thesis provides a market-focused representation of the flexibility concept. It portrays flexibility as a promising capability for firms that operate under uncertainty. It gives resource reallocation recommendations and offers a value-driven legitimation for the creation and use of flexibility. The underlying resource-and-capabilities-theory-based model consists of rapid resource reallocation processes, market deployment and performance to evaluate the effectiveness of the reallocation and deployment processes.
Study I examines how firms become and remain flexible by creating flexibility via outsourcing decisions. It shows that firms can draw on the resources of their service providers to create flexibility at their intra-organizational boundary. Managers don’t need to sacrifice market-focused performance when drawing on this additional flexibility potential from external providers because prudent outsourcing in market-support and market-facing functions can enhance flexibility and performance.
Study II deals with the creation of flexibility by using slack resources. It relates reallocation decisions about excess resource to the novelty of firms’ market activity and the customer equity-based value of their customer base. It provides evidence that firms with reasonable human resource slack levels in customer value creating functions can use resources in excess of the current demands as a source of reactive flexibility. Managers should avoid slack in customer value supporting functions. They should invest in resource reallocation capabilities to enhance their proactive flexibility.
Study III integrates intra- and inter-organizational flexibility and links flexibility to the customer equity-based value of firms’ customer base. Findings show that both internal and external flexibility types can enhance performance - under different