Journal of Service Science and Management, 2012, 5, 331-338 Published Online December 2012 (
An Empirical Study on the Impact of Cultural Types on
Resources Integration Model
Yan Zhan1, Jiansha Lu1, Wei Deng Solvang2
1College of Mechanical Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, China; 2Department of Industrial Engineering,
Narvik University College, Narvik, Norway.
Received October 10th, 2012; revised November 12th, 2012; accepted November 22nd, 2012
From the perspective of Resource-based Theory (RBT), organizational culture can be a source of sustained competitive
advantage. And resources integration models, divided by property rights of resource, not firm boundary, as internal and
external resources integration models, are presented as being specific in different cultural contexts. However, the litera-
ture review shows the absences of an integrated framework, which can help to highlight the different role that con-
text-specific facets of culture play. This paper develops a conceptual framework based upon the culture literatures and
evolutionary theory to define the relationship between four different cultural types, namely team-long-developmental
culture (TLD), team-authority-communicative culture (TAC), long-risk-developmental culture (LRD) and risk-control-
authoritative culture (RCA), and two different resource integration models. Our study undertook a survey of 168 effec-
tive samples from manufacturing industries and developed a model of partial least squares (PLS). The empirical re-
sults confirm the reliability and validity of measurement scales. The theoretical hypotheses of cultural evolution mecha-
nism for resource integration are also supported by the empirical evidence.
Keywords: Resource-Based Theory; Resources Integration Model; Partial Least Squares
1. Introduction
In recent years, the world-wide vertical and horizontal
mergers wave clearly shows that global networked manu-
facturing has become the development trend in the 21st
century. Networked manufacturing will help enterprises
by obtaining optimal distribution channels and opportu-
nities on manufacturing resource globally, while expos-
ing them to much more intense competition than ever
before [1]. Resources integration research based on re-
source dependence theory and competitive advantage
perspective suggests that a firm can achieve competitive
advantage by creating strategic flexibility through the in-
tegration of the firm’s own resources [2]. However, the
scope of resources integration is expanding beyond the
region and even beyond national borders, the selection of
resources integration model is influenced largely by the
characteristics of organizational culture.
This research develops a conceptual framework based
upon the culture literatures and evolutionary theory to
explore how organizational cultures have impacts on the
formation of resources integration models to enhance the
strategic flexibility. We validated the proposed research
model by surveying 168 effective samples from manu-
facturing industries. The empirical results confirm that,
in general, corporate cultures do contribute to strategic
flexibility through resources integration. The implica-
tions and limitations of findings are discussed toward the
end of this paper.
2. Literature Review
2.1. Organizational Culture
Culture is defined as “the complex whole which includes
knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom and any other ca-
pabilities and habit acquired by man as a member of so-
ciety” [3]. It has been no doubt that the culture of an or-
ganization plays a strategic role in enhancing competi-
tiveness of the organization in current global competitive
arena. A common hypothesis is that if an organization
possesses a “strong” culture by exhibiting a well-inte-
grated and effective set of specific values, beliefs, and
behaviors, it will perform at a higher level of productiv-
ity and will therefore gain larger competitive edges.
The most widely used cultural framework is presented
by Hofstede [4] which identified four dimensions of na-
tional culture, i.e. uncertainty avoidance, power distance,
masculinity-femininity and individualism-collectivism. He
further included two additional dimensions. One is long-
term orientation and the other is indulgence versus re-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JSSM
An Empirical Study on the Impact of Cultural Types on Resources Integration Model
straint [4]. Cameron and Quinn developed an organiza-
tional culture framework, which is based on six organ-
izational culture dimensions and four dominant culture
types (i.e., clan, adhocracy, market, and hierarchy) [5].
Competing values produce polarities like flexibility, sta-
bility, internal focus, and external focus [5] will be lim-
ited by long-versus short-term orientation, power dis-
tance, individualism vs. collectivism, and uncertainty
avoidance [4], while those dimensions of Chinese na-
tional culture are shown as long-term orientation, long
power distance, collective, and risk avoidance, respec-
tively. Therefore, adopting the dynamic capability per-
spective, we apply the limitations of national culture to
the evolution of organizational culture dimensions and
identify four different culture types as follows:
Team-long-developmental culture (TLD);
Team-authority-communicative culture (TAC);
Long-risk-developmental culture (LRD);
Risk-control-authoritative culture (RCA).
2.2. Resources Integration
In Supply Chain Management perspective, there are nu-
merous terms and phrases that have been used analo-
gously, such as integration, allocation, cooperation, co-
ordination, collaboration, and interaction. Basically re-
source integration refers to assign the available resources
in an economic way. While the focus of resource alloca-
tion is often on assigning or integrating tangible re-
sources to different tasks necessary to the accomplish-
ment of production, this type of strategic planning also
takes into consideration intangible assets that may be
exist. Based on Resource-Based Theory (RBT) and
MICK-4FI [1], we point out that leverage mechanism of
resources operation on networked manufacturing integra-
tion, emphasizing on integration of internal and external
resources, especially using its self owned-resources to
leveraging external resources for obtaining non-substi-
tutable competitive advantage. As the results of organ-
izational structure from the whole supply chain, re-
sources integration is a dynamic management process,
which combine and reengineer internal and external re-
sources systematically, through taking internal resources
integration ways (including combination, accumulation,
and upgrade), or external resources integration ways (in-
cluding borrowing, alliance, and collaboration) within
and across its boundary to realize added value and get
competitive advantage. And resources integration models,
divided by property rights of resource, not firm boundary
[6], as internal resources integration model (IRIM) and
external resources integration model (ERIM), are pre-
sented as being specific in different cultural contexts.
2.3. Strategic Flexibility
As emphasized in strategy literature, capabilities are ex-
ternally focused, while competencies are internally fo-
cused, and, capabilities are derived from competencies.
In this light, strategic flexibility may be viewed as an
externally focused capability, while resources integration
is an internally focused competency that is its antecedent.
Here strategic flexibility is firm’s intent and capability to
identify major changes in the external environments, to
create option bundles of resources, and to ensure the sus-
tainable competitive advantage of the firm [7].
Based on RBT and from a dynamic-based perspective,
we contend that flexibility is an outcome of capability
development manifesting through constant renewal, inte-
gration, and reconfiguration of internal and/or external
resources to address environmental changes [8]. From
this view, flexibility is made possible through heteroge-
neous resources integration. Thus, those three types of
flexibility can be understood as resource flexibility (RF),
coordination flexibility (CF), and integration flexibility
(IF). Previous studies investigated the impact of re-
sources integration, internal and external, on strategic
flexibility, but the impact of integration in the context of
culture on strategic flexibility is yet to be investigated.
3. Research Model and Hypotheses
Organizational cultures often bear strong imprints of na-
tional culture, leading to ideas that different types of or-
ganizational culture do have different roles in organiza-
tion management and resources operation. The model
also asserts that in the context of traditional Chinese cul-
ture, organizational culture has a profound effect on the
ways to integrate internal and external resources, which
will contribute to strategic flexibility in acquiring com-
petitive advantage in the final. The theoretical model
postulated is shown in Figure 1.
3.1. TLD Culture and RIM
Previous researches have found that corporate culture
Note: ξ1: TLD; ξ2: TAC; ξ3: LRD; ξ4: RCA; η1: IRIM; η2: ERIM; η3: RF; η4:
CF; η5: IF.
Figure 1. Conceptual model of organizational cultures-re-
sources integration model-strategic flexibility.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JSSM
An Empirical Study on the Impact of Cultural Types on Resources Integration Model 333
plays a very important “informal” role in the daily activi-
ties of an organization by providing guided practices of
company values and behavior. Quite a few studies sug-
gest that internal integration and coordination develop-
ment may become concerned with creation of corporate
culture focused on collective interests and long-term de-
velopment [9]. Some empirical researches find that com-
panies adopted interdepartmental integration via interac-
tion and collaboration in different ways and get different
results [10,11]. Schrage also suggests that collaboration
might have a stronger impact on performance factors
than interaction because the mutual sharing of informa-
tion and resources will be more cost-effective and pro-
mote greater goodwill across departments [11]. Related
studies show that TLD culture characterized by good
relationship between employees, harmonious group cul-
ture, long-term development under team involvement
may have some effects on internal and external resources
integration model. Based on the above, we hypothesize
the following:
H1a. TLD culture that a company holds is positively
associated with IRIM.
H1b. TLD culture that a company holds is positively
associated with ERIM.
3.2. TAC Culture and RIM
A rich stream of research has identified a number of fac-
tors that can hinder functional integration including lack
of communication, credibility, and senior management
support, existence of reward systems that do not encour-
age and may even discourage cooperation [12]. Other
factors found to be related to integration include trust,
inter-group conflict caused by competition between func-
tional areas for scare organizational resources [13]. Many
researches examine that paternalistic leadership in the
Chinese business context is positively associated with job
satisfaction and employee loyalty [12]. Related studies
show that TAC culture characterized by internal focus
with high power distance, pursuing collective interests,
and hierarchical communication may have some effects
on IRIM and ERIM. Based on the above, we hypothesize
the following:
H2a. TAC culture that a company holds is positively
associated with IRIM.
H2b. TAC culture that a company holds is positively
associated with ERIM.
3.3. LRD Culture and RIM
Many researches have confirmed that resource comple-
mentarities create the potential from acquisitions and
alliances, leading to higher long-term firm performance
as an end result [14]. Lei finds strategic alliances from
reciprocal strengths and complementary resources have
become an attractive alternative to mergers and acquisi-
tions as a means to acquire resources [15]. Enterprises
focus on improving internal operations, taking sustaining
innovation and improvement with risk aversion and long-
term interests. Different types of strategic alliances (e.g.,
joint venture and global strategic alliances) enable firms
to control the resources allocation and the division of
benefits among partners [16]. Related studies show that
LRD culture characterized by low-risk orientation of
innovative development and obtaining resources in a
roundabout way may have some effects on IRIM and
ERIM. Based on the above, we hypothesize the follow-
H3a. LRD culture that a company holds is positively
associated with IRIM.
H3b. LRD culture that a company holds is positively
associated with ERIM.
3.4. RCA Culture and RIM
Previous researches have found that corporate culture
plays a very important “informal” role in the daily activi-
ties of an organization by providing guided practices of
company values and behavior. Therefore, it is imperative
to cultivate positive company culture from respectful
values which encourage employees’ loyalty to maximize
internal resources utilization [17]. Wann-Yih Wu points
that there is a positive relationship between the level of
information sharing, quality, and availability, and the
levels of trust, and commitment in supply chain relation-
ships [18]. Van Mieghem further suggests that when
markets differ in profitability, risk aversion rebalances
capacity toward the (redundant) flexible resource, but
away from the (unique) shared resource [19]. Related
studies show that RCA culture characterized by external
focus, risk management under the control of different
level of rights may have effects on IRIM and ERIM.
Therefore, we hypothesize the following:
H4a. RCA culture that a company holds is positively
associated with IRIM.
H4b. RCA culture that a company holds is positively
associated with ERIM.
3.5. IRIM and ERIM
Frohlich found, in the context of web-based integration
in supply chains, that reduction of internal barriers is a
required first step before removal of supplier and cus-
tomer barriers to achieve supply chain integration [20].
In a study of the automotive supply industry, Vickery
found that there is a positive, causal relationship between
integrative information technologies and supply chain
integration, which comprised both horizontal integration
(within a firm) and vertical integration (with suppliers
and customers) [21]. However, they did not hypothesize
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JSSM
An Empirical Study on the Impact of Cultural Types on Resources Integration Model
a causal relationship, nor did they explore possible ante-
cedents of integration practices. Based on the above, we
hypothesize the following:
H5a. IRIM is positively associated with ERIM.
3.6. RIM and Strategic Flexibility
The successful implementation of strategic flexibility
depends on the inherent flexibility of the resources
available to the firm and the flexibility in applying these
resources [22]. Studies have shown that coordination
activities between enterprises and dynamic allocation of
material, financial, information, and knowledge re-
sources, help to enhance the level of strategic flexibility.
Griffith point out that it will affect enterprise strategy
implementation and the fitting of enterprise strategy to its
environment if internal and external resources integration
models are not flexible, sustainable, or controlled [23].
Several studies in the past have investigated external
resources integration as major factors affecting a com-
pany’s competitive advantage, by way of reduced costs
and improved service levels [24]. However, they did not
hypothesize a causal relationship, nor did they explore
possible antecedents of external integration practices.
Thus, this research considers a firm’s strategic flexibility,
and higher-level manufacturing professionals in the local
firm were requested to consider and provide responses,
especially for the construct of external resources integra-
tion, as they relate to key customers and key suppliers.
Based on the above studies, we find enterprise re-
sources integration has gone beyond the scope of man-
agement tools, but directly related to the choice of strate-
gic flexibility when enterprises facing many challenges
and threats from internal or external environment. Ac-
cording to literature research, this article examines three
types of strategic flexibility from the perspective of re-
sponse capacity to changes in the internal and external
environment: resources flexibility (RF), focusing on re-
sources range of effective utilization, time and cost for
changing patterns of resources use; coordination flexibil-
ity (CF), focusing on rational allocation and effective use
of shared resources, and resources restructuring; integra-
tion flexibility (IF), focusing on integrating resources
systemically and adjusting resources integration ways
dynamically. Therefore, we hypothesize the following:
H6a. IRIM is positively associated with RF.
H6b. IRIM is positively associated with CF.
H6c. IRIM is positively associated with IF.
H7a. ERIM is positively associated with RF.
H7b. ERIM is positively associated with CF.
H7c. ERIM is positively associated with IF.
4. Research Method and Data Analysis
All research variables were measured using multi-item
scales. The scales for four types of organizational cul-
tures were adopted from Xing and Ye [25]. The items
measuring internal and external resources integration
were adopted from Zheng [26]. Strategic flexibility was
measured mainly from Sanchez [17]. Newly created
scales were based upon the literature review and associ-
ated theoretical foundation presented earlier, following
the paradigm of Churchill [27]. A total of 302 question-
naires were sent out, and 205 were completed and re-
turned. The overall response rate was 67.9%. The final
data set consisted of 168 observations. Table 1 presents
the demographic information for the sample.
Table 1. Demographic statistics.
VariablesCategories No Pct.
Male 103 61.3
Female 65 38.7
Under 30 30 17.9
31 - 35 46 27.4
36 - 45 56 33.3
Above 45 36 21.4
Industrial Mach. & Eqpt. 78 46.4
Bio-pharmaceutical Indus. 38 22.6
Transportation Eqpt. 24 14.3
Measurement & Instm. 16 9.5
Indus. type
Others 12 7.2
Less than 100 ps. 11 6.5
100 - 500 ps. 9 5.4
500 - 1000 ps. 66 39.3
1000 - 5000 ps. 78 46.4
Co. size
More than 5000 ps. 4 2.4
State-owned ent. 107 63.7
Private ent. 11 6.5
Foreign-funded ent. 7 4.2
Co. type
Joint venture 43 25.6
Associate’s 20 11.9
Bachelor’s 82 48.8
Master’s 56 33.3
Ac. deg.
Doctoral 10 6.0
1 - 10 years 114 67.8
11 - 20 years 50 29.8
Time in
More than 20 years 4 2.4
Co. Manager 30 17.9
Dep. head 78 46.4
General staff 56 33.3
Others 4 2.4
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JSSM
An Empirical Study on the Impact of Cultural Types on Resources Integration Model
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JSSM
Of the companies in the sample, 65% were state-
owned enterprises, and almost 90% had more than 500
employees. In addition, 48.2% of companies were from
Industrial Machinery & Equipment, 27.7 from Bio-
pharmaceutical Industry, and 15.3 from Chemical Prod-
ucts. Among the respondents, 57.7% were male and over
89% had Bachelor’s degree or above. Also, 33.6% of the
respondents were company managers or department
heads and about 73% had over 6 years of working ex-
perience. We acknowledge that these respondents may be
well aware of internal and external resources integration.
Among the respondents, 57.7% were male, 33.6% of the
respondents were company managers or department
heads and about 73% had over 6 years of working ex-
Data were subjected to a factor analysis to assess the
psychometric properties of the measurements in this
study. As shown in Table 2, Cronbachs α ranged from
0.743 to 0.945, indicating that the measurements were
reliable. The remaining items were subject to an exami-
nation of construct validity using output from the partial
least squares (PLS). As shown in Tables 2 and 3, com-
posite reliability (CR) and the square root of AVE (aver-
age variance extracted) were all above the recommended
guidelines, suggesting strong convergent validity. In ad-
dition, the square root of AVE in Table 3 proved greater
than all of the inter-construct correlations. Common meth-
od bias was assessed by including all items in a principal
components factor analysis. With the first principal com-
ponent accounting for 23% of the variance in the data,
the exploratory factor analysis suggests that common
method bias is not a major concern in this study.
5. Results of the Structural Model
Visual PLS was used to estimate the structural model.
Figure 2 presents the results of the study.
A bootstrapping approach was used to generate 500
random samples of observations from the original data
set to evaluate the significance of the path coefficients.
The results of path analysis show that while TLD has a
positive impact on IRIM, validating H1a, its relationship
with ERIM is negative and significant. Support is found
for the influence of TAC on IRIM and ERIM, validating
H2a and H2b. We found no empirical support for H3b:
the interaction effect of LRD on ERIM is not statistically
significant. Results also show that LRD and RCA are
positively associated with IRIM and ERIM respectively,
supporting H3a and H4b; however, for H4a, RCA does
have a negative and significant relationship with IRIM.
And for H5a, IRIM had a negative and significant rela-
tionship with ERIM. Consistent with H6a, H6b, H6c, and
H7a, H7b, H7c, IRIM and ERIM have a positive and
significant effect on RF, CF and IF. The research model
Table 2. Construct reliability and convergent validity (n =
Construct reliability Convergent validity
Cronbachs α, min 0.70CR, min 0.70 AVE, min 0.70
TLD0.848 0.903 0.698
TAC0.834 0.895 0.675
LRD0.875 0.911 0.732
RCA0.818 0.879 0.664
IRIM0.942 0.956 0.832
ERIM0.868 0.917 0.694
RF0.756 0.865 0.658
CF0.768 0.879 0.720
IF0.837 0.930 0.849
Table 3. The correlations between the latent variables (square root of AVE on diagonal in boldface).
TLD 0.832
TAC 0.712 0.821
LRD 0.255 0.236 0.858
RCA 0.081 0.205 0.579 0.809
IRIM 0.823 0.732 0.259 0.114 0.903
ERIM 0.238 0.627 0.312 0.429 0.137 0.834
RF 0.139 0.432 0.232 0.197 0.187 0.578 0.809
CF 0.252 0.479 0.263 0.331 0.215 0.656 0.752 0.815
IF 0.217 0.552 0.290 0.274 0.317 0.612 0.693 0.874 0.915
An Empirical Study on the Impact of Cultural Types on Resources Integration Model
Figure 2. Potheses tests.
explained 34% of the variance in RF, 44.2% of the vari-
ance in CF, and 41.9% of the variance in IF.
6. Conclusions
This study has several academic contributions. First, it
applies the limitations of national cultural to the evolu-
tion of organizational culture dimensions and identifies
four different culture types. Fierce competition with for-
eign companies, our firms should take full advantage of
different characteristics of local cultures to achieve in-
ternal and external resources integration efficiently, thus
form strategic flexibility keeping with their culture types,
which will help Chinese companies gain sustainable de-
Secondly, this study contributes to extant research by
extending the domain pertaining to resources integration.
The conceptual framework developed by the extant lit-
erature largely stresses on resources within an organiza-
tion and overlooks those that exist outside it. Under net-
worked manufacturing environments, sustainable com-
petitive advantage is the pursuit of flexible strategy that
cannot be easily duplicated by competitors. This implies
that to augment resources integration: internal resources
integration model and external resources integration
model, companies should continually integrate, recon-
figure, or even renew the component resources and com-
petencies by property rights of resource from the whole
supply chain. Some characteristics of Chinese culture
will contribute to the realization of external resources in-
tegration process, especially those cultures with authori-
tative control and risk aversion.
Thirdly, extant research has identified different ways
of internal resources integration and argues that effects
resulting from these different ways may contribute to the
performance of strategic flexibility. Nevertheless, these
effects are indiscriminate. Results of this study shed in-
teresting insights in that cultures with group and long-
term orientation will play an important role in internal
resources integration mode through combination (re-
sources interchangeability), accumulation (experience
pool, integration concept), and upgrade (resources com-
plementarities, channel construction).
Fourthly, this study advances our understanding of re-
lationships between resources integration and organiza-
tional performance. Resources integration researchers
posit that resources integration, whether internal or ex-
ternal, leads to superior performance. However, they did
not specify how this transpires. Set in increasingly vola-
tile manufacturing contexts, this study provides a case in
which resources gained in external resources integration
enhance the level of strategic flexibility, because they en-
able the company to gain long-term development. In
other words, cultures with authoritative control and risk
aversion will play an important role in external resources
integration through borrowing (cross-border learning,
following procedures), alliance (absorbing resources,
improving short-board resources), and collaboration (re-
ducing the risk of resources, flexible acquisition of re-
The limitations due to perceptual nature of the data
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. JSSM
An Empirical Study on the Impact of Cultural Types on Resources Integration Model 337
used to assess the various constructs, reliance on key
informants, and the possibility of mono-respondent bias
and common methods variance that are common to many
empirical research studies of the past do apply to this
study as well. Like most studies in the past, this study
surveyed high-level manufacturing professionals from
individual firms, who are generally capable of internal
and external resources integration involving different
ways. While this is a potential limitation, it is also an op-
portunity for future research. Lastly, since data were col-
lected from manufacturing industries in China, this indi-
cates limitations to the generalization of the findings due
to cultural influences and localized business practices.
7. Acknowledgements
This work was supported by the National Science Foun-
dation of China (NSFC) under Grant Nos. 71201144, the
Scientific Research Fund of Zhejiang Provincial Educa-
tion Department under Grant No. Y200803886.
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