Concept of a productivity boundary and operating efficiency, Operation Management

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1. Porter (1996) attempts to resolve the issue of Skinner's quandary with trade-offs by introducing the concept of a productivity boundary and operating efficiencies. Explain where Porter suggests trade-offs still exist and where a simultaneous movement on multiple criteria will apply.

Answer: Porter suggests that the experiences of a firm are determined by its relative position to the productivity frontier shown in the figure on page 61. Porter makes two other observations regarding the productivity frontier. He argues that as companies approach the frontier they are more liable to experience trade-offs and on the frontier only trade-offs. He also contends that the frontier is a moving target which is shifted outwards by new innovations and management approaches.


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