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Title: The competitiveness of logistics service providers : an investigation in China and the UK
Author: Liu, Xiaohong Lu
Awarding Body: Heriot-Watt University
Current Institution: Heriot-Watt University
Date of Award: 2008
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The aim of this study is to investigate systematically the competitiveness of logistics service providers (LSPs). Competitiveness is not a new topic in business research but has received little discussion in the logistics literature. This study helps to fill this gap in the literature. In contrast to most previous studies of third-party logistics which have viewed the subject from the user's perspective, this study investigates the LSP's point of view. The thesis has both theoretical and empirical sections. The theoretical part reviews the work of economists and strategists on firm-level competitiveness, in particular, the resourcebased view (RBV) and Porter's competitive theory of strategic management. Partly on the basis of this review it constructs a research model for the analysis of LSPs' competitiveness based on primary sources, contributing factors and perfon-nance measures. A series of seven research propositions are derived relating to various aspects of the subject. The empirical work undertaken to test the validity of these propositions used a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches and involved comparative surveys in two countries: China and the UK. This survey work comprised three phases: piloting, validation and main survey. Four kinds of research methods were used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data: telephone interviews, e-mail survey, semistructured face-to-face interviews and large-scale postal questionnaire survey. A range of different descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were employed to analyse these data, including two that appear not to have been widely applied in the field of logistics research (the application of factor scores in exploratory factor analysis and factor analysis regression). The empirical results confirm the applicability of both the resource-basedv iew (RBV) and Porter's theory of competitiveness to LSPs. They indicate, nevertheless, that the RBV is the more appropriate in this context. Generally speaking, the study indicates that the competitiveness of an LSP does not simply depend on external forces but can be strongly influenced by the LSP own actions. Capabilities are identified as the most important source of competitiveness by respondents in both countries. This not only supports the RBV, but is also in line with numerous other concepts of firm-level competitiveness. The study reveals a high degree of similarity in the views of competitiveness expressed by Chinese and British LSPs, though several important differences emerged. Some of these variations can be attributed to differences in cultural backgrounds and economic systems. In the light of the theoretical and empirical research a procedure is outlined which LSPs might employ to assessa nd improve their level of competitiveness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available