HRM Policies for Mass Customization
Management research has been long emphasizing the fundamental contribution of individual competencies to the development of company competences, which thus affect organizational success or failure. To date, the debate over critical individual competences has been almost ignored in research on Mass Customization. As a consequence, we know a lot about the possible methods and organizational arrangements supporting Mass Customization, but we know very little as to how the human variable enters the puzzle. Given this fact, the present paper explores what roles are mostly affected by mass customization within the company, as well as what fundamental requirements Mass Customization poses to the manufacturing firm in terms of individual competences. We address these questions by means of a qualitative interview-based study involving 46 experts across 5 European countries. Our findings indicate that (1) R&D operative roles play a central role in the achievement of a Mass Customization capability and suffer from a serious gap or customization-related competencies; (2) individual attitudes, almost neglected in extant research on Mass Customization, are essential in determining the individual’s capability to perform customization-related tasks and finally (3) that methods knowledge is perceived by respondents as not so critical as individual attitudes and context knowledge.
Key wordsMass Customization Competences Human Resources Knowledge Training
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