Category Archives: Management

The Influence of Hierarchy on Idea Generation and Selection in the Innovation Process

Dongil (Daniel) Keum and Kelly E. See
Organization Science, Vol. 28, Issue 4, July-August 2017, pp. 653–669

The link between organizational structure and innovation has been a longstanding interest of organizational scholars, yet the exact nature of the relationship has not been clearly established. Drawing on the behavioral theory of the firm, we take a process view and examine how hierarchy of authority – a fundamental element of organizational structure reflecting degree of managerial oversight – differentially influences behavior and performance in the idea generation versus idea selection phases of the innovation process. Using a multi-method approach that includes a field study and a lab experiment, we find that hierarchy of authority is detrimental to the idea generation phase of innovation, but that hierarchy can be beneficial during the screening or selection phase of innovation. We also identify a behavioral mechanism underlying the effect of hierarchy of authority on selection performance and propose that selection is a critical organizational capability that can be strategically developed and managed through organizational design. Our investigation helps clarify the theoretical relationship between structure and innovation performance and demonstrates the behavioral and economic consequences of organizational design choice.

When organizational politics matters: The effects of the perceived frequency and distance of experienced politics

John M Maslyn, Steven M Farmer, Kenneth L Bettenhausen
Human Relations,Pages: 0018726717704706.

Drawing from literature linking organizational politics with effects of challenge or hindrance stressors, this study investigated the effects of the frequency and psychological distance of positive and negative conceptualizations of perceived politics on the impact to the individual. It was hypothesized that the frequency of political behavior would exhibit an inverted-U-function relationship with favorable evaluations of political behavior and that this relationship would be moderated by distance. Two independent samples were used to test the …
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Approaching evaluation from a multilevel perspective: A comprehensive analysis of the indicators of training effectiveness

Traci Sitzmann, Justin M Weinhardt
Human Resource Management Review,In Press

We propose a multilevel framework that addresses the criteria that can be used to assess training effectiveness at the within-person, between-person, and macro levels of analysis. Specifically, we propose four evaluation taxatraining utilization, affect, performance, and financial impactas well as the specific evaluation metrics that can be captured to examine the facets of each taxon. Our multilevel framework also clarifies the appropriate level of analysis for assessing each criterion variable and articulates when it …
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Anchoring Relationships at Work: High-Quality Mentors and Other Supportive Work Relationships as Buffers to Ambient Racial Discrimination

Belle Rose Ragins, Kyle Ehrhardt, Karen S. Lyness, Dianne D. Murphy, and John F. Capman
Personnel Psychology, Vol. 70, Issue 1, Spring 2017, Pages 211–256

Applying a unifying theoretical framework of high-quality work relationships, we conducted a set of 3 complementary studies that examined whether high-quality mentoring relationships can buffer employees from the negative effects of ambient discrimination at work. Integrating relational mentoring with relational systems theory, we first examined whether the presence of a high-quality mentoring relationship buffers employees in a sample of 3,813 workers. In support of the “mentors-as-buffers” hypothesis, we found that employees who witnessed or were aware of racial discrimination at work had lower organizational commitment than those not exposed, but employees with high-quality mentoring relationships experienced less loss of commitment than those lacking mentors. We then examined the specific buffering behaviors used by mentors in high-quality relationships and whether these behaviors were effective for other work relationships and outcomes. Applying Kahn’s typology, we developed and validated a measure of high-quality relational holding behaviors in a sample of 262 workers. Using this measure in a third sample of 557 workers, we found that mentors buffer by providing holding behaviors, but we did not find this buffering effect when supervisors or coworkers provided holding behaviors. This potent mentor buffering effect held across a range of outcomes, including organizational commitment, physical symptoms of stress, insomnia, and stress-related absenteeism. These studies suggest that mentoring may be a singularly effective relationship that offers a safe harbor for employees faced with ambient discrimination at work.

Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement: An Integration between Theories of Organizational Legitimacy and Learning

Vinit Desai
Academy of Management Journal,Pages: 2016.0315.

Organizations often collaborate with stakeholders such as customers, communities, and other groups to pursue shared goals, and these partnerships are known to affect an organization’s legitimacy with those groups as well as its access to information from them. While these concerns could be examined within each of their own independent literatures, existing theories are ill-equipped to handle this process in tandem. Thus, studying these collaborations provides an opportunity to more broadly explore how organizations …
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The Stretch Goal Paradox

Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller, and Kelly E. See
Harvard Business Review,  JVol. 95, Issue 1, Pages: 93-99

What executive hasn’t dreamed of transforming an organization by achieving seemingly impossible goals through the sheer force of will? We’re not talking about merely challenging goals. We’re talking about management moon shots—goals that appear unattainable given current practices, skills, and knowledge. In the parlance of the business world, these are often referred to as stretch goals. Our research suggests that though the use of stretch goals is quite common, successful use is not. Before launching stretch goals in sales, production, quality, or any other realm, how can you be confident that your grand aspirations will trigger positive attitudes and actions rather than negative ones? We focus on providing clear guidelines for assessing when stretch goals do and do not make sense, and when to employ them rather than set more achievable objectives.

The Strategic Use of Historical Narratives: A Theoretical Framework

William M. Foster, Diego M. Coraiola, Roy Suddaby, Jochem Kroezen, David Chandler
Business History,Vol. 59, Issue 8, Pages: 1176-1200.

History has long been recognised as a strategic and organisational resource. However, until recently, the advantage conferred by history was attributed to a firm’s ability to accumulate heterogeneous resources or develop opaque practices. In contrast, we argue that the advantage history confers on organisations is based on understanding when the knowledge of the past is referenced and the reasons why it is strategically communicated. We argue that managers package this knowledge in historical narratives to address …
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The dynamic effects of subconscious goal pursuit on resource allocation, task performance, and goal abandonment

Traci Sitzmann, Bradford S Bell
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes,Vol. 138, Pages: 1-14.

We test two potential boundary conditions for the effects of subconscious goalsthe nature of the goal that is activated (achievement vs. underachievement) and conscious goal striving. Subconscious achievement goals increase the amount of time devoted to skill acquisition, and this increase in resource allocation leads to higher performance when conscious goals are neutral. However, specific conscious goals undermine the performance benefits of subconscious achievement goals. Subconscious underachievement goals …
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Third-Party Certifications as an Organizational Performance Liability

Vinit M Desai
Journal of Management,Pages: 0149206316659112.

Third-party accreditations and certifications can provide legitimacy or signal trustworthiness about an organization and its products or services, and with very little exception, the vast majority of research on these labels focuses on their benefits. Yet the value of becoming accredited may change dramatically over time. Little research, if any, has examined the processes through which this occurs. Here, I develop theory about three mechanisms that could each tarnish the value of accreditation and reduce its performance impact. First,” …
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The Behavioral Theory of the (Governed) Firm: Corporate Board Influences on Organizations’ Responses to Performance Shortfalls

Vinit Desai
Academy of Management Journal, Volume 59 Issue 3, pp. 860-879

The Behavioral Theory of the Firm provides a well-evidenced perspective on organizational decision making that has influenced a wide array of literatures, including the substantial body of work on organizational change. This literature suggests that organizations are more likely to undertake major changes when their performance declines below aspirations or targets for acceptable performance, but few studies examine how multiple groups of organizational decision makers, each with potentially conflicting interests, might collectively influence this process. To that end, I incorporate theory regarding corporate boards and their role in organizational decision making. I use this integration to suggest that boards with particular characteristics may have interests that do not align with those of the management team when performance shortfalls occur, using their influence to force compromises or compel managers to reconsider particular changes. I find support for the related predictions that an increase in board size and equity ownership suppresses change when performance drops, although I find no support for similar arguments regarding board turnover. This approach blends the typically distinct but related literatures on performance feedback and corporate governance, and suggests the role that some boards might play in circumventing the momentum for organizational change.

An Examination of the Relationship Between the Work–School Interface, Job Satisfaction, and Job Performance

Rebecca Wyland, Scott W. Lester, Kyle Ehrhardt and Rhetta Standifer
Journal of Business and Psychology, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 187–203

Purpose: This study provides a comprehensive examination of how the work–school interface relates to work outcomes such as task performance and job satisfaction. Additionally, this study builds upon past research by examining a range of work- and school-related resources and demands that collectively influence the work–school interface.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Data were obtained from 170 working undergraduate students at multiple time points over the course of a semester, as well as from participants’ supervisors at the organizations in which the students work.

Findings: The strongest antecedent of job satisfaction, interpersonal facilitation, and job performance was work–school facilitation. Demands in one role create pressures in the other. Contrary to expectations, job demands positively related to work–school facilitation, while school demands positively related to school–work facilitation.

Implications: For practitioners, this study highlights the need to better understand the interplay between school and work roles for employees at a time when continuing education is emphasized. Employers benefit from the performance gains and positive attitudinal shifts that stem from experiences of facilitation between roles. From a theoretical perspective, this study reveals a unique pattern of results that adds to our understanding of the dynamics involved in the integrated work–school routines of working students.

Originality/Value: This is one of the first studies to investigate the relationships between four bi-directional forms of the work–school interface and subsequent multi-source assessments of organizational outcomes. As such, it offers an examination of how conflict and facilitation from both the work and school domains relate to work outcomes.

Learning to Learn from Failures: The Impact of Operating Experience on Railroad Accident Responses

Vinit Desai
Industrial and Corporate Change, Volume 25, Issue 2, Pp. 199-226

Failures are difficult to learn from, and organizations unable to learn may continue to fail. This study reconciles conflicting theoretical predictions regarding whether organizations are able to learn from failure, by examining the moderating role of knowledge gained through an organization’s operating experience. The study also forwards the possibility that generalist and specialist organizations systematically differ at this process. Hypotheses are tested on a panel of railroad companies. These tests provide strong support for the role of operating experience, and partial support for differences across generalists and specialists. Contributions to organizational learning theory and related literatures are discussed.

Under the radar: Regulatory collaborations and their selective use to facilitate organizational compliance

Vinit M Desai
Academy of Management Journal,Vol. 59, Issue 2, Pages: 636-657.

Why do organizations vary in complying with regulatory mandates? While some may resist these pressures, what to change or how to change it may be unclear even when managers do intend to fully comply. Though scarce in the literature, theories regarding how organizations search for and learn from information under uncertainty provide an ideal window through which to examine organizational responses to regulatory mandates and other external pressures. In this study, I adapt these theories to posit that organizations …
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How Technology Is Changing Work and Organizations

Wayne F. Cascio and Ramiro Montealegre
Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, Volume 3, pp. 349-375

Given the rapid advances and the increased reliance on technology, the question of how it is changing work and employment is highly salient for scholars of organizational psychology and organizational behavior (OP/OB). This article attempts to interpret the progress, direction, and purpose of current research on the effects of technology on work and organizations. After a review of key breakthroughs in the evolution of technology, we consider the disruptive effects of emerging information and communication technologies. We then examine numbers and types of jobs affected by developments in technology, and how this will lead to significant worker dislocation. To illustrate technology’s impact on work, work systems, and organizations, we present four popular technologies: electronic monitoring systems, robots, teleconferencing, and wearable computing devices. To provide insights regarding what we know about the effects of technology for OP/OB scholars, we consider the results of research conducted from four different perspectives on the role of technology in management. We also examine how that role is changing in the emerging world of technology. We conclude by considering approaches to six human resources (HR) areas supported by traditional and emerging technologies, identifying related research questions that should have profound implications both for research and for practice, and providing guidance for future research.

The search for global competence: From international HR to talent management

Wayne F. Cascio and John W. Boudreau
Journal of World Business, Volume 51, Issue 1, Pp. 103–114

This article describes the evolution of the search for global competence through a 50-year content analysis and review of published research in the field of International HR Management (IHRM), and more recently, Talent Management (TM), with special emphasis on the Journal of World Business. We present a detailed examination of the IHRM/TM content of the Journal of World Business from its inception in 1965 through 2014. To put the results of that review into perspective, we review key themes in global business and strategy from 1965 to the present, noting where IHRM/TM research and business trends correspond, diverge, and lag. Next, we present a brief history of IHRM and TM, showing how the emerging theme of TM offers challenges and promise for connecting future IHRM/TM research with emerging business, strategy, and social trends. We conclude with the implications of our findings for future research, and the importance of the search for global competence.

Organizational Oscillation between Learning and Forgetting: The Dual Role of Serious Errors

Pamela R. Haunschild, Francisco Polidoro Jr., David Chandler
Organization Science,Vol. 26, Issue 6, Pages: 1682-1701.

We know that organizations change over time as a result of their ability to learn and their tendency to forget. What we know less about, however, is why they might change back, despite evidence suggesting that this occurs. In this paper, we develop and test a model of organizational oscillation that explains why firms cycle through periods of learning and periods of forgetting. In particular, we identify a dual role for serious errors, which push firms toward a focus on safety while also pulling them away from other foci, such as efficiency or …
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An approach-inhibition model of employee silence: The joint effects of personal sense of power and target openness

Elizabeth W. Morrison, Kelly E. See, and Caitlin Pan
Personnel Psychology, Volume 68, Issue 3, Pp. 547–580

When employees consciously withhold potentially important suggestions or concerns from those who may be able to act on that information, it can have serious implications for organizational performance. Yet there is research suggesting that, when faced with the choice of whether or not to raise an issue, employees often choose to remain silent. Our objective in this paper is to expand current theoretical understanding of why employees often remain silent and of situational factors that can lessen this tendency. Drawing on the approach-inhibition theory of power, we argue that an employee’s personal sense that he or she is lacking in power in relation to others at work is a key factor contributing to the decision to remain silent but that this effect is moderated by perceived target openness. We took a multimethod approach, testing these relationships across 3 studies: a laboratory experiment, a survey study of healthcare workers, and a survey study of employees working across a wide range of industries. Our findings suggest that, although silence is indeed rooted in the psychological experience of powerlessness, perceived target openness mitigates this relationship, encouraging employee to speak up when they would not otherwise do so.

Learning through the Distribution of Failures within an Organization: Evidence from Heart Bypass Surgery Performance

Vinit Desai
Academy of Management Journal, Volume 58 Issue 4, p1032-1050

While research has suggested that organizations can improve by investigating and learning from failures, some work has found that they may generate incorrect lessons or fail to learn. This study addresses the debate by turning attention to the processes that underlie learning, using attribution theory to highlight the way in which decision makers interpret information about where failures occurred or who was involved. This approach is notable because it suggests that different organizations with similar experiences may have quite distinct reactions based on where that experience originates. Specifically, I predict that organizations learn less effectively when their failures are relatively concentrated in origin, meaning that failures typically involve a particular unit or even a specific individual, compared to when failures are more broadly dispersed. I also examine factors that intensify or ameliorate this effect, including an organization’s size or its performance relative to aspirations. I test related hypotheses on a panel of hospitals that offered a specific surgical procedure within California from 2003 through 2010.

Learning from Learning Theory: A Model of Organizational Adoption Strategies at the Microfoundations of Institutional Theory

David Chandler, and Hokyu Hwang
Journal of Management, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp. 1446-1476

In spite of recent interest in its microfoundations, institutional theory’s account of what, why, and when ideas diffuse remains limited and oversocialized. As such, it is unclear how firms decide what to adopt and how these decisions evolve across a population as innovations spread and become taken for granted. We review recent work in institutional theory on this issue and draw from learning theory to inform institutional accounts of adoption decisions in ways that add to current explanations of organizational heterogeneity. In particular, we develop a model of adoption strategies that explains how firms identify which practices to adopt by drawing on knowledge that is either local or distant (search scope) to understand what works and what does not (mindfulness). We then theorize how the decision to adopt is further conditioned by the extent of diffusion (temporal variation) and the characteristics of the field, organization, and innovation (decision context). We discuss the implications of this model for our understanding of how things diffuse and identify additional ways in which the microfoundations of institutional theory can be advanced by studying how organizations learn.

The Robust Beauty of “Little Ideas” The Past and Future of A Behavioral Theory of the Firm

David Maslach, Chengwei Liu, Peter Madsen, Vinit Desai
Journal of Management Inquiry,Vol. 24, Issue 3, Pages: 318-320.

This introductory and the following nine articles reflect comments made by panelists during a symposium honoring A Behavioral Theory of the Firm by Richard Cyert and James G. March at the 2013 Academy of Management meeting. Not surprisingly, what emerged from these comments is that the Behavioral Theory of the Firm (BTF) was enormously influential to the creation of many “little ideas” that have a big impact on a number of social sciences. More surprising is the potential for many new “little ideas” that build on the BTF. The panelists …
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