Competitive priorityis a set of objectives or “strategic preference” that theorganization chooses as part of its competitive arsenal (Ahmad & Schroeder,2002). They are crucial in decision-making on resource allocation and capacitydevelopment. Researchers have identified six objectives. All of thesecompetitive priorities are defined as follows: the cost is the cash expensesassociated with the operation; products and services provided that meetcustomers’ needs; delivery is confidence in offering services and process todeliver when promised; flexibility is a variety of production or offeringservices process capable; Using new and practical products (services) as ameans of competition; environment / safety refers to policies implemented inrisk (Jacobs & Chase, 2010).Competitive priorities for the operation strategy andmanufacturing strategy broadly competitive priorities and operating strategythat can help companies to create develop and maintain a competitive advantage.Competitive priorities are defined as the dimensions that a company’s systemmust have to support the demands of markets in which the company wishes tocompete (Krajowski & Ritzman, 1993).In 1984 Hayes andWheelwright reached that companies compete in the marketplace by virtue of oneor more of the following competitive priorities: Quality; Lead-time; Cost; andFlexibility.
Many authors and practitioners have added to and adapted this listover the years. Researchers have demonstrated that competitivepriorities have long lasting influence on various business practices such astechnology adoption, process choice, capability management, manufacturingplanning and control systems, employee skills development and quality assurance(Hayes & Wheelwright, 1984).Managers must work closely with marketing in order to understandthe competitive situation in the company’s market before they can determinewhich competitive priorities are important. Competitive priorities define asCapabilities that the operations function can develop in order to give a companya competitive advantage in its market (Reid & Sanders, 2011).Some firms areable to sustain their competitive advantage for many years, but most find thatcompetitive advantage erodes over time. “Market stability is threatened byshort product life cycles, short product design cycles, new technologies,frequent entry by unexpected outsiders, repositioning by incumbents, andtactical redefinitions of market boundaries as diverse industries merge.”Consequently, a company or business unit must constantly work to improve itscompetitive advantage.
It is not enough to be just the lowest-cost competitor.Through continuous improvement programs, competitors are usually working tolower their costs as well. Firms must find new ways not only to reduce costsfurther but also to add value to the product or service being provided(Wheelen& Hunger, 2012, 191). Phusavat andKanchana (2007) identify six criteria which act as competitive priorities:quality, cost, delivery, flexibility, customer focus and know- how. The currentstudy pointed three of them to fit and consistence with study’s population, andthese criteria as follows: 4.
1.1 QualityQuality is a competitive criterion in the marketplace. Itengenders competitive advantage by providing products that meet or exceedcustomer needs and expectations (Lee &. Zhou, 2000). Quality, as stated by(Kazan, Ozer and Cetin, 2006), is defined using different perspectives, as itis a subjective goal that has indefinable characteristics. The definition ofemploys the customer’s perspective in defining quality; it is the customer whodecides what goods or services best satisfy his/her needs. Quality defines asexcellence, value, conformance to specifications and meeting or exceedingcustomers’ expectations.
Most studies identify eight dimensions for quality as:performance, features, reliability, conformance, durability, serviceability,aesthetics and perceived quality. These dimensions match the customerperspective. Thus, quality is clearly viewed as a main source of competitiveadvantage, by meeting customer requirements. Many companies claim that quality is their top priority, and manycustomers say that they look for quality in the products (goods, services,and ideas) they buy. Yet quality has a subjective meaning; it depends onwho is defining it. When companies focus on quality as a competitive priority,they are focusing on the dimensions of quality that are considered important bytheir customers. Quality as a competitive priority has two dimensions. Thefirst: is high-performance design.
This means that the operations functionwill be designed to focus on aspects of quality such as superior features,close tolerances, high durability, and excellent customer service. Thesecond: dimension is goods and services consistency, which measures howoften the goods or services meet the exact design specifications (Reid &Sanders, 2011).4.1.2CostHill(1994) indicates that low cost manufacturing is the priority when profitmargins are low. The logic behind linking a cost leadership strategy tocompetitive advantage, as suggested by (Porter, 1991), is that competitiveadvantage can be divided into two basic types: lower cost than rivals, or theability to differentiate and command a premium price that exceeds the extracost of doing so. Competitiveadvantage, as argued by (porter, 1981) can be achieved by adopting one or moreof the following generic competitive strategies:v Costleadership:low-cost for competitors, related products and standardization, and economiesof scale.
The cost-leadership strategy requires intensive work supervision,strict cost control, frequent and detailed control reports, and structuredresponse and response capacity.v Differentiation: this strategyis described in terms of product uniqueness, an emphasis on marketing andresearch, and a flexible structure. v Focus: this strategyimplies a focus on a narrow niche (buyer group, product line or geographicmarket) through differentiation, low cost or both. 4.
1.3FlexibilityOrganizational environment changes rapidly, Including customerneeds and expectations, the ability to easily absorb these changes can be awinning strategy. There are two dimensions of flexibility: one is the abilityto offer a wide range of products, and customize them to the unique needs ofcustomers. A flexible system can quickly add new services. Another aspect offlexibility is the ability to rapidly increase or reduce the quantity producedand introduced quickly to accommodate changes in the demand (Reid &Sanders, 2011).
Phusavat and Kanchana(2007) define flexibility as the ability to respond effectively to changingcircumstances. Nakane & Hall (1991) defines flexibility as a quick responseto changed production volume, changed product mix, customization of product,introduction of new products and adoption of new technology.There are many dimensionsof flexibility: Material quality; Output quality; New product; Modification;Deliverability; Volume; Product mix; and Resource mix (Foo & Friedman,2001).4.
2 Knowledge SharingFernandez, Gonzalez and Sabherwal, 2004define Knowledge sharing as “the process through which explicit or tacitknowledge is communicated to other individuals”. Three importantclarifications are in order. First, knowledge sharing means effectivetransfer, so that the recipient of knowledge can understand it well enoughto act on it. Second, what is shred is knowledge instead of recommendationsbased on the knowledge. Third, knowledge sharing may take place acrossindividuals as well as across groups, departments, or organizations. Knowledge sharing is defined as “the willingness of someone within theorganization to transfer knowledge with other members”, and sharingknowledge is a social act through interaction and communication betweenindividuals. This emphasizes that knowledge sharing is inherent and rooted inknowledge management. Knowledge management (KM) involves cultivating a learningculture where members systematically collect and share knowledge with otherswithin the organization to achieve better performance.
Therefore, managementshould facilitate communication and exchange of knowledge among its staff tofacilitate learning of new and improved approaches to effective and efficientjob delivery (Daniel,Abraham, Shadrach & Ernest, 2015).There are many factors that affect knowledge sharing in organizations suchas cost, especially when purchasing equipment or using technology or holdingconferences and seminars. Knowledge sharing is also influenced by thepossibility of changing content, particularly in the hierarchy.There are many effective tools for sharing knowledge such as e-mail,internal communication through intranet networks, all of which lead to a betterdistribution of knowledge and allow employees to inquire, discuss and analyzeinformation through different perspectives. Roussan (2004) points out thatknowledge sharing is done through the use of intranet, which is a link betweenall employees at different levels of management in the organization. Al-Alul (2011, 101) points out that if the organization does not distributeits knowledge efficiently, it will not generate a return for the cost of thatknowledge. Al-Alul said that it is easy to share explicit knowledge throughtechnology and communication, but the transfer of implicit knowledge in theminds and experiences of workers remains a major challenge to knowledgemanagement.The researcher agrees with Al- Alul that the sharing implicit knowledgerequires a great effort and periodic plans to motivate workers in theorganizations and enhance their capabilities to share and transfer knowledge.
Also the process of knowledge sharing is the first step in the process of usingknowledge and the step presented to it. Knowledge sharing here means the way inwhich knowledge is communicated by appropriate mechanisms, and to the rightperson, in an appropriate form and cost.Knowledge sharing refers tothe provision of task information and know-how to help others and tocollaborate with others to solve problems, develop new ideas, or implementpolicies or procedures (Cummings, 2004).
It should be noted that the processof knowledge sharing requires effective mechanisms, mechanisms that can beformal such as reports, training, official meetings, or informal ones such asinformal dialogue, panels and meetings. Consequently, it is necessary tocombine formal and informal mechanisms for the sharing and transfer ofknowledge (Al-Alwani, 2006, 315).Al-Taher (2012, 93) points out that knowledge sharing involves thetransmission of implicit knowledge or explicit knowledge to individuals throughcommunication and other means. Where the process of participation is carriedout through two main processes: the process of exchange of knowledge(Exchange), and the process of socialization through social interactions in organizations(Socialization). The exchange of explicit knowledge facilitates its transferand participation, while social processes apply to implicit knowledge.
Knowledge sharing isessentially the act of making knowledge available to others within the organization(IPe, 2003). Knowledge sharing enables managers to maintain individual learningflow throughout the company and integrate it into practical application. It isvery important to clarify that knowledge sharing can be classified as(knowledge donating; individuals responsibility and knowledge collecting;organizations’ responsibility).
Thecurrent research is consisted with Van Den Hooff and De Ridder (2004) whereknowledge sharing is classified into “knowledge donating–communicating toothers what one’s personal intellectual capital is; and knowledgecollecting–consulting colleagues in order to get them to share theirintellectual capital”.The researcher revealed that Knowledge Sharing refers to ensure thatappropriate knowledge is accessible to those need it, at the appropriate time,and that it reaches as many people as possible in the organization. Knowledgesharing is the third process of knowledge management and relies on formal andinformal mechanisms and methods. The formal methods are: reports, letters,correspondence, internal conferences and workshops of the organization,periodic reviews of the situation in the organization, internal publications,video and voice conversations, training and learning. Informal methods include:rotation, interpersonal relationships between staff, and work teams.4.
3 Social MediaKaplan and Haenlein (2009,63) defined social networking sites as”applications that enable users to connect by creating profiles, invitingfriends and colleagues to access those profiles, and sending e-mail messagesand instant messages between each other.”Social media is defined as “forms of media that allowpeople to communicate and share information using the Internet or mobilephones,” such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Social media is acollection of new types of online media, which share most or all of thecharacteristics The following: participation, openness, conversation, communityand communication (Wolmer,2012).Social media are quite different from traditional media. Wheretraditional media can direct their messages to one-way customers, social mediafocuses on conversations with a two-way communication type. Communicationsshould aim at authenticity and participation; to become active users withinsocial media. Social media do not develop new strategies in this context; theyoffer additional channels of communication with much potential (Kate, 2009).
In other researchuser-friendliness, interactiveness, openness and uncontrollability, velocity,and real-tameness have been mentioned to be the main characteristics of socialmedia (Kaplan & Haenlain, 2009; Denyer et al, 2011; Kietzmann et al, 2011;Fournier & Avery, 2011). Also in other studies Social media can be showedas – features, content, means, people and purpose (Jalonen, 2014, 1372). Finally, Social media are built topromote the creation of communities and communities. The easiest steps are tomaximize the existing presence on the Internet. The next step is to increasebrand awareness among employers; to involve all existing employees and theirnetworks (Kate, 2009).
5. Previous ResearchThawatchai, Jitpaiboon, Qiannong,Gu, and Dothang, Truong (2016) study explored that Competitive priorities arecritical dimensions that a business must possess to satisfy clients. Theprocess of defining competitive priorities is evolving and changing over timeaccording to a new business paradigm.
Therefore, it is the right time torevisit the critical dimensions of competitive priority. The purpose of thisstudy is three fold: to identify and revise the critical dimensions ofcompetitive priority; to assess the quality of competitive priority measuresacross studies based on different criteria; to confirm the relationship betweenseveral competitive priorities and organizational performance. The results showthe different effects that competitive priorities have on organizationalperformance. Cost and quality priorities show evidence of strong effect sizecompared to the others.Ghazali, Sulaiman, Zabidi, Omar and Alias (2016) study thataimed to study social media effects in educational sector. Therefore, thisstudy is directed to explore other niche area on knowledge sharing environmentwhere it will focused on the effects of social media on knowledge sharing amongacademia.
Initially, literature review analysis was done to discover thepotential factors that encourage academia to engage in social media. Ability tofacilitate communication, idea generation and group establishment are the mostcited reasons. Not only that, this paper will highlight the significance ofperforming this study. In conclusion, there is no doubt that social media doenhance and upgrading the knowledge sharing process thus assisting academia intheir scholarly work.Agbim and Idris (2015) study hasempirically established that knowledge dissemination is significantly relatedto competitive advantage among hotels in Benue State, Nigeria.
Thus, thesustained competitiveness among the hotels in Benue State could be attributedto the prevalence and unprecedented increase in the sharing and transfer ofknowledge among well motivated knowledge workers within and between departmentsin the hotels, and between hotels through the use of ICT gadgets.Gaal, Szabo, Kovacs and Csepregi (2015) survey thatinvestigates how internal or external social media technologies are being usedfor knowledge sharing during work or for professional development. The studywas accomplished with the help of enterprises and institutions operating inHungary from profit and non-profit sectors, applying quantitative researchmethods. The results have shown that Hungarian organizations prefer not toallow the usage of external social media; but where the employees are supportedto reach these tools, high proportion of the people utilize them.Al-Husseini and Elbeltagi (2015) study aimedto examine the impact of knowledge sharing on product innovation.
The resultsfound that knowledge sharing is a basis of product innovation in Iraqi highereducation environment. This paper makes a theoretical contribution to theliterature on knowledge sharing and innovation, and provides support for theknowledge-based view theory and empirically strengthens the role knowledgesharing plays in enhancing product innovation in Iraqi higher education. Theseresults give a better understanding of how knowledge can lead to competitiveadvantage in Iraqi higher education.
Knowledge sharing is known to transferindividual experiences, knowledge, skills, expertise, and information intoexplicit and organizational assets for better innovation. Managing knowledgeand sharing it, as a strategic resource is one of the foundational weapons thatenable universities to increase their competitive advantage and chances ofsurvival. Meihami and Meihami (2014) Study investigated the impact of knowledge managementon competitive advantage in organizations.
Knowledge is a powerful tool thatcan change the world and innovations made possible. Knowledge management is aninterdisciplinary business model with all aspects of knowledge creation,Coding, sharing and using knowledge to enhance learning and innovation in thecontext of the company is working. The study found that knowledge managementhas an impact on the surface of the competitive advantage’s Knowledgemanagement and competitive advantage, Innovation, Organizational performance,Customer satisfaction.Khalil and Divine (2012) study explored the relationship between knowledgesharing and innovation capability, by examining the influence of individual,organizational and technological factors on knowledge sharing. Knowledgesharing in any organization is very important as this is the basis upon whichideas and processes are being implemented and that help management in decisionmaking.
An understanding of these knowledge sharing enablers will helporganizations capitalize on them, to positively influence their innovationcapability. In this study, within the UAE context, the relationship between thevariables in the proposed model and specifically knowledge collecting anddonating had either weak or no significant importance at least to theindividuals that were surveyed. Use of ICT had the strongest relationship thatmay enhance innovation capabilities of firms. Further investigation is requiredto examine the factors that prohibit knowledge collecting and sharing withinUAE organizations.