Essays on operations strategies
Jacobs, Brian W.
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Operations strategies, whether prompted by competitive or regulatory forces, can greatly impact firm performance. While operations strategies cover a wide spectrum of issues - supply chain management, technology choice, capacity allocation, etc. - this dissertation focuses on two such issues, namely, sustainability and product development. The thesis comprises three essays. The first essay (Chapter 2) examines a regulatory aspect of sustainability strategy, product take-back, a form of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). With a stylized model, we analyze the trade-offs between assigning full responsibility for product recovery to a single echelon in a multi-echelon supply chain versus sharing responsibility between echelons. We demonstrate how the sharing of EPR program costs between the echelons can move the supply chain closer to the coordinated profit benchmark. The second essay (Chapter 3) examines a voluntary aspect of sustainability from an empirical perspective. We investigate the impact from various types of corporate environmental initiatives and environmental awards and certifications on the market value of the firm. We find that the market is selective in reacting to environmental performance, with certain types of initiatives and awards even valued negatively. The third essay (Chapter 4) is an empirical examination of the shareholder value effects that result from the restructuring of firms' product development activities. We find that, on average, the stock market reacts positively to product development restructuring, and that the reaction is dependent on the firm's prior financial performance, restructuring objective, R&D expenditures, and size.