Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to replicate the taxonomic study of Miller and Roth and to validate its applicability in a small newly industrialised country. Design/methodology/approach – An empirical survey of manufacturing companies in Ireland was conducted using a research instrument that replicated the questions asked in the original 1994 study. Data was collected using mail questionnaires posted to 874 manufacturers. A total of 199 respondents were used for this study. The study tested two central hypotheses using advanced statistical data analysis techniques, such as canonical discriminant analysis. Findings – The results of the research identified three clustered strategic groups (Best Value, Budget and Multi Focus) which were different from those of Miller and Roth: caretakers, marketeers and innovators. The study supported the dynamic nature of manufacturing strategy, and shows how new manufacturing strategies evolve over time and differ between regions. Research limitations/implications – Further research should replicate this study in other small newly industrialised countries. Given the recently changed nature of the economy within Ireland, a longitudinal study would provide useful insights into the dynamics of manufacturing capabilities. Practical implications – The study provides important insights into manufacturing strategy within a small newly industrialised country. The results suggest that manufacturing strategies appear to change depending on the country of plant location. The manufacturing strategies may be attributed to the unique business environment, challenges and constraints of the country. Originality/value – There is a scarcity of taxonomy studies in general, and there is a dearth of such studies in small newly industrialised countries such as Ireland. Through identifying a new taxonomy the study contributes to the existing literature on manufacturing strategy, and challenges the global applicability of taxonomies developed in the USA.
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Ronan McIvor can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org