Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sydney Business School


This study uses resource-based view (RBV) theory to investigate the relationship of two major capabilities – corporate competitive capabilities (CCC) and supply chain operational capabilities (SCOC) – with business performance within the context of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia. Consistent with the focus on supply chain management (SCM) theory to develop firms’ competitive advantage and performance, the current study also analyses the influence of SCM in small to medium-sized firms by applying the moderator approach, and examining the effect of the levels of supply chain integration (SCI) on the interaction of CCC and SCOC with Malaysian SMEs’ business performance.

The data was predominantly analysed through structural equation modelling (SEM), including multi-group SEM analysis as a means to investigate all variables in the proposed framework and to confirm the hypotheses of interest. Other techniques employed for data analysis were descriptive statistics, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and cluster analysis, including three types of validity tests: convergent, discriminant and nomological.

The analysis revealed a number of interesting findings. First, a firm’s CCC and SCOC both had insignificant influences on its business performance. Second, there was a mutual relationship between CCC and SCOC that may contribute to Malaysian SMEs’ competitive advantage, as CCC and SCOC statistically influenced each other. Finally, this study also discovered aspects of a moderating effect, as the findings indicated that levels of SCI (which were categorised into two different groups) significantly moderated the relationship between (i) CCC and business performance and (ii) SCOC and business performance.

To the best of this researcher’s understanding, the above findings offer new knowledge, particularly through three findings related to: (i) the mutual relationship of CCC and SCOC, (ii) the moderating effects of levels of SCI on the relationship between CCC and business performance and (iii) the moderating effects of levels of SCI on the relationship between SCOC and business performance. The findings also contribute to remedying the lack of studies that examine the interrelationship of CCC and SCOC with business performance, either within or outside the Malaysian context. These findings empirically provide strong support for this study, and suggest that Malaysian SMEs need to consider the role of levels of SCI as the most important factor in improving business performance in respect to their CCC and SCOC.

Also, this is the first study to confirm the specification of each first-order and second-order CCC, SCOC, Levels of SCI and Business Performance constructs, demonstrating more precise findings than those of the previous studies.

Moreover, the current study is among the first empirical studies to apply the measurement-invariance test in ascertaining whether the effects of two different moderating groups (high and low levels of SCI) are equally strong. The study is also the first to examine the moderating effects on two relationships using a separate structural model for each. No previous study has commented on such a difference of findings between a full and separated structural models.

These facts highlight the current study’s contribution to expanding the application of both the RBV and SCM theories to firm- and country-specific research; specifically, to the development of SMEs in Malaysia. Finally, the current study also highlights the theoretical, empirical and practical issues that will guide scholars to undertake parallel studies in the future, as well as provide useful guidance to Malaysian SMEs’ practitioners and policy-makers

FoR codes (2008)

150309 Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 150314 Small Business Management, 150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.