Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Coping with Turbulence: New Zealand Manufacturers, Internationalization and Managing Change

Lawrence Corbett.

This paper reports on a longitudinal study of a small group of New Zealand manufacturers that has faced a turbulent international business environment over the last 10 years. They have all survived but with mixed fortunes. Sales growth varied from +430% to –50% over the period due to changes in products, markets, and in ownership. The paper examines the internationalisation approaches of each company and the operational changes that were made in response to the turbulent environment. It also considers the role of the company leaders in maintaining close relationships with customers, and driving the operational changes. In the more successful companies, the leaders took direct charge of dealing with customers. In the less successful companies, offshore owners made some important decisions regarding markets. In operations, there has been a drive toward more responsiveness, reduced cycle times, higher levels of quality and greater emphasis on infrastructural investments such as training, skill development, use of teams and greater delegation of responsibility to workers.


Lawrence Corbett  (New Zealand)
Associate Professor of Management
Victoria Management School
Victoria University of Wellington

Lawrence Corbett has teaching and research interests are in operations and quality maangement, operations strategy, and the evolutin of competitive capability. He is co-leader of the Competitive Advantage New Zealand project (

  • Internationalization
  • Leadership
  • Operations management
  • New Zealand
  • Organisational change

(Virtual Presentation, English)