skip to main content

Title: An Exploration of Regional Apparel Production Industry Network Development
The movement of apparel and soft goods manufacturing to overseas resulting in US apparel production industries having limited systems of knowledge transfer and sharing resources in reshoring of production. Network provide a natural organizing concept to examine this problem. This qualitative study involved interviews, observation, and examination of organizational documents for apparel manufacturing investors/owners, production managers and workers, produce development entrepreneurs, key national manufacturing executives, equipment and raw material suppliers, education/training providers, manufacture publishing, community development and leaders in state government, and non profit agencies. Common interest in advancement of reshoring production has generated rural/urban alliances and enhanced well-being.
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The purpose of this study was to learn more about U.S. small-sized apparel and sewn products manufacturing firms through an analysis of their firm performance with the multiple aims of improving management practice and advancing the reshoring of U.S. apparel manufacturing. We know relatively little about new companies and small-sized entrepreneurs who operate apparel production businesses, and specifically what impacts their perceptions of firm performance in navigating the complex and rapidly changing apparel industry. We build upon stakeholder theory and the knowledge-based view of the firm. Accordingly, this study involved a quantitative investigation as to what degree the following three attributes explained a subjective evaluation of U.S. apparel producing firm performance; entrepreneurial orientation, new product; and the ability of the firm to acquire knowledge in this competitive industry. Results of hierarchical multiple regression suggest that all three variables predicted significant change in firm performance with an adjusted R2 of 0.29.
  2. Understanding how manufacturers engage in knowledge sharing with other firms is key in providing insights for the reshoring and strengthening of US apparel and sewn products manufacturing. Based on both social capital theory and the knowledge-based view of the firm perspective, this paper analyzes the conditions within the firm that support knowledge absorptive capacity, social interaction, and a people-oriented culture in building network ties to advance sharing of resources along the supply chain. Manufacturers of apparel and sewn products operating within a western US state form the sample population for this mixed method exploration. Study 1 involves a four-year qualitative examination of manufacturers across the state. Findings highlighted the frequency of knowledge as a topic of external organizational discussion. Study 2 probed aspects of knowledge quantitatively using an online survey with 38 participating manufacturing firm owners. Results suggested strong associations among the three independent variables and network ties generating an adjusted R2 of 0.766. A significant two-way interaction effect was found for absorptive capacity and social interaction indicating their positive effect on network ties. The relationship between absorptive capacity and network ties was found to be greater with higher levels of social interaction. Theoretical implications and suggestions for application ofmore »findings are offered.« less
  3. Small-sized apparel manufacturing businesses who operate apparel design, development, and production businesses often experience inadequate knowledge in navigating the complex apparel industry. Key concepts in social capital theory suggest that social interactions and people-oriented organizational cultures advance knowledge sharing and network ties. This mixed method exploration of small-sized Colorado-based apparel manufacturers sought to address the research question: Is external knowledge available, and if so, do aspects of social capital play a role in the process? Study 1 involved a qualitative investigation with interviews and business documents suggesting low levels of knowledge sharing, and challenges in learning aspects of the industry. For Study 2, a quantitative analysis was conducted using stepwise multiple regression with independent variables measured by Likert-like scales involving knowledge absorptive capacity, social interaction, and people-oriented organizational culture. Network ties was the dependent variable. All three variables significantly explained networking ties. Exploratory findings provide both theoretical and pragmatic applications.
  4. Individuals who launch entrepreneurial apparel design, development, and production businesses often experience start-up difficulties associated with resource availability and constraints, as well as incomplete knowledge and perceptions of opportunities in the apparel industry. We examine the concept of embeddedness as a mechanism for accessing resources and for addressing information gaps. This empirical research uses Giddens’ theory of structuration to investigate the conception of entrepreneurship, involved in regional apparel design, development, and production, as an embedded socio-economic process. Application of structuration enables exploration of the link between entrepreneurship (as agent) and the context (as structure); thus, allowing study of how social structures affect or encourage entrepreneurial activity. Qualitative methodology was employed as the objectives were to explore and understand the relationships acquired rather than to measure. Drawing evidence from a longitudinal study of three regional supporting structures and their impact on three entrepreneurial apparel design, development, and production businesses, This research presents an initial investigation into embeddedness over time.
  5. Abstract
    Firms do not continue and prosper purely on their own individual endeavors, as each firm is influenced by the activities of others, and thus direct and indirect relationships shape the firm’s strategic management. These relationships form the tactics by which knowledge and other strategically important resources are accessed and created. Forming and maintaining ties among members of a network have been the subject for numerous research studies in the social, economic, and business literature. Our work is framed by the resource-based view of the firm perspective along with social capital theory and its shared constructs in network theory. Prior findings suggest that networking ties are strategic actions generated for firm growth and continuance. The ties may be short-term or develop into long-term relationships. The purpose of this research is to fill some of the gaps in interorganizational networking strategy by analyzing five antecedents that have been suggested in the literature as individually associated with entrepreneurs’ engagement in network ties. In this way, our work provides another research avenue for examining networking’s contribution to strategic management. We hypothesized positive connections to entrepreneurs’ engagement in network ties from antecedents involving the firm’s knowledge absorptive capacity, business goals, entrepreneurial orientation, social interactions,More>>