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Title: Strategy and competitiveness in the Portuguese textile industry in the context of exporting to the UK market
Author: da Silva, Rui M. V.
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1998
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The Portuguese textile/clothing industry is vital to its economy. Export markets such as the UK represent significant sales for the industry. However the importance of this market has been declining as UK retailers have switched to lower cost countries. The research investigates the strategy and competitiveness of the Portuguese textile industry by comparing the views of UK retail buyers and Portuguese exporters on the decision making of UK buyers. This research examines the buying decision making process of UK retail buyers of textiles/clothing and compares it with the perceptions held by Portuguese textiles/clothing suppliers on how UK buyers make decisions. The research methodology involves the use of a multi-criteria modelling technique (IAS), where buyers were asked to imagine that they were considering a 'new buy', where they could source from either the UK or Portugal. Six buying criteria were used to scope the buying decision and identified from the general literature on buying and that specifically on retail buying. These were: cost, work quality, delivery time, responsiveness to requests, innovative ability and design ideas. Respondents were asked to evaluate the salience of each criterion and rate each source on all criteria. The resultant scores for each source were used to identify which sourcing option buyers would select. The methodology was repeated with Portuguese suppliers who were asked to adopt the role of a UK buyer in answering the same questions. 102 UK retail buyers in 35 companies and 66 Portuguese suppliers from 40 companies were interviewed in personal, face to face interviews. Qualitative as well as quantitative data were obtained, so that the author could better understand the decision making process being modelled. Two bodies of literature are of relevance to this study, that on buying in general and retail buying in particular and the literature on the country of origin (COO) effect. Hypotheses were derived from the literature on the relationship between buying decision making, the personal characteristics of the buyer and the nature of decision making in the retail organisation. Insights from the literature on the COO effect were used to predict the presence and nature of the gap between UK buyer and Portuguese supplier perceptions. The work is unique in its attempt to combine the buying and COO literatures. The context of commercial rather than consumer buying for a COO study is unusual, as is the dyadic nature of the interview process. The main contribution from the work is the confirmation of the hypothesised association of personal characteristics with the salience of decision criteria, the identification of what is labelled the 'country of destination' effect and its linkage again to buyer characteristics. The practical contributions from the work, include the conclusion that while Portuguese suppliers recognise the nature of the stereotyping of them by UK buyers, they underestimate the scale of this effect. Portugal is still seen predominantly as a low cost source. Cost as a competitive advantage has and will become less significant for Portuguese companies who need to educate the British market as to their true potential.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available