The paper discusses the measurement of manufacturing virtuality and, in doing so, contributes to knowledge in the fields of operations strategy, operations management and accounting. Initially, the use of a virtual manufacturing operations strategy within the contemporary business environment is considered. Thereafter, a conceptual scale by which the extent of the virtuality of a manufacturing organisation can be measured is presented. A preliminary version of the scale is described together with its application to three companies manufacturing in the global electronic and electrical industrial sector. These companies, each having adopted different operations strategies, potentially represent the two extremes and a mid‐point on the virtuality scale. The empirical component of the work includes presentation of case study descriptions of the companies and the results of the application of the scale. These are shown to provide evidence of its validity. The final section of the paper analyses the current form of the model and describes how its performance might be informed by the incorporation of concepts from accounting that embrace the financial measurement of intangible company assets. It is a further demonstration of the limitations of conventional financial reporting in dealing with contemporary issues in management and business. The paper concludes by discussing the generic significance of the work and by presenting future directions for the research.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 2004
Keywords: Virtual organizations; Corporate strategy; Manufacturing industries; Intellectual capital; Intangible assets