Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.389497
Title: The development of global companies within the UK clothing industry.
Author: Zhou, Qing.
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 1998
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Abstract:
The concept of 'globalization' has nomlally been observed and researched in relation to hightechnology sectors, and little rigorous work has been done in the clothing context. This research attempts to fill the gap by replacing opinion and views with objective analysis, and to add to the existing knowledge base by providing answers to the identified problems in a measurable form. One of the major factors shaping the clothing industry's current position towards operations in different countries is the level of labour costs and the labour cost gap between developed and developing countries. The study has shown that despite technological development, labour costs as a percentage of total costs in the clothing industry are still very high as compared with the situation in the automobile industry and the electronics industry. Moreover, the considerable labour cost gap between developed and developing countries has not closed over the years. The statistical evidence has provided a new and objective perspective on the size of the above gap and highlighted the continued relevance of the issue of labour costs to the clothing sector today. The research has also illustrated how factors such as inflation rate and indirect charges can have their impact on the labour cost level. The 'globalness' of the UK based clothing sector was assessed at both the industry level and at the company level. At the industry level, an extensive re-working of secondary data was carried out. A study of various indicators of international involvement has shown that the UK clothing industry's exports and outward investment are far from spread across the world's major markets, instead, they are fairly concentrated in certain regions. In addition, previously unpublished data on the use of outward processing traffic were collected and analyzed. Evidence suggests that the UK clothing industry is only 'global' to a limited extent. In order to develop an infornled understanding of the competitive strategies at company level and to study whether companies with higher degrees of globalization achieve better performance, a postal survey of 152 UK based clothing fimlS, followed by telephone and face-to-face interviews, was conducted. The primary data collected by questionnaires and interviews were subjected to rigorous statistical analysis. Four case studies were subsequently established to put the analysis into a real-life context. The surveyed experience of the UK based clothing companies has revealed that larger companies tend to have higher levels of international involvement. However, based on the statistical evidence, the thesis argues that a wider geographical presence does not equal globalization and it does not lead to better performance. The interviews and case studies also highlighted important strategic issues. Based on the infornlation from both the primary and secondary sources, the thesis concludes that in the future UK clothing companies will further increase their overseas manufacturing activities at the expense of the home production base. Only those companies which restructure and invest in good time in preparation for further changes in industry settings, and which have a close relationship with their clients, are more likely to succeed or survive.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.389497  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Strategic management; Labour costs Management International trade Economics
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