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.
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.
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.
Kelly E. See, Elizabeth W. Morrison, Naomi B. Rothman, and Jack B. Soll
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, November 2011
Incorporating input from others can enhance decision quality, yet often people do not effectively utilize advice. We propose that greater power increases the propensity to discount advice, and that a key mechanism explaining this effect is elevated confidence in one’s judgment. We investigate the relationships across four studies: a field survey where working professionals rated their own power and confidence and were rated by coworkers on their level of advice taking; an advice taking task where power and confidence were self-reported; and two advice taking experiments where power was manipulated. Results consistently showed a negative relationship between power and advice taking, and evidence of mediation through confidence. The fourth study also revealed that higher power participants were less accurate in their final judgments. Power can thus exacerbate the tendency for people to overweight their own initial judgment, such that the most powerful decision makers can also be the least accurate.
Sim B Sitkin, Kelly E See, C Chet Miller, Michael W Lawless, Andrew M Carton
Academy of Management Review,Vol. 36, Issue 3, Pages: 544-566.
We investigate the organizational pursuit of seemingly impossible goalscommonly known as stretch goals. Building from our analysis of the mechanisms through which stretch goals could influence organizational learning and performance, we offer a contingency framework evaluating which organizations are positioned to benefit from such extreme goals and which are most likely to pursue them. We conclude that stretch goals are, paradoxically, most seductive for organizations that can least afford the risks associated …