The relationship of strategic orientation-performance linkages is central in strategic management research. The choice of strategic orientation is key in determining the overall performance of a firm. This paper examines business strategic orientations of manufacturing firms based on the strategic orientation typology developed by Miles and Snow (Prospector-Analyzer-Defender-Reactor). The role played by a firm involves use of distinctive competencies of experienced managers, good use of technology as well as good customer service and the role played by business environment in linking strategic orientations and performance exploration. The study sought to conceptualize the concept of strategic orientations, distinctive competencies and how the two relate to a manufacturing firm’s performance. To fulfill this task, the study was guided by the following objectives: To review the extent of theoretical literature on strategic orientations, distinctive competence and manufacturing firm’s performance, to review the extant empirical literature on strategic orientations, distinctive competence and manufacturing firm’s performance, to identify the emerging theoretical and empirical gaps on the linkage between strategic orientations, distinctive competence and manufacturing firm’s performance, to propose a conceptual framework linking strategic orientations, distinctive competence and manufacturing firm’s performance, to propose areas for further research on strategic orientations, distinctive competence and manufacturing firm’s performance. To advance these propositions; three theoretical foundations were adopted: resource-based view, core competence and resource dependency theories. The resulting empirical review exposed contextual and content gaps that form the basis for advancing the propositions of this paper. The paper provides a better understanding of the phenomenon of strategic orientation, distinctive competencies and performance based on the weaknesses identified in empirical and theoretical literature reviewed. The paper suggests that future research should use other strategic orientations and distinctive competencies.

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