Archive for April, 2011

Flexible Leader Theory & Firm Performance

April 29, 2011

Human Capital, Efficiency, and Innovative Adaptation as Strategic Determinants of Firm Performance” by Rubina Mahsud, Gregory E. Prussia, Seattle University, and Gary Yukl, State University of New York at Albany, was published in Online First in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.

Professor Mahsud graciously expounded upon the article in her responses below.

Who is the target audience for this article?

This study has important implications for strategy and human resource management scholars as well as business leaders.  To be an effective manager in this period of intense global competition requires one to think and act in simultaneous modes of efficiency and flexibility for adapting in to new situations and demands.  Managers must understand the importance of being able to use competitive strategies that combine cost efficiency and innovative adaptation.  Human resource management professionals, CEOs, consultants, and business educators should understand how investing in an organization’s human capital can make a significant contribution to this type of strategic ambidexterity.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

Leadership, strategy, and organizational performance are closely interlinked subjects, and not enough has been done to integrate them in the past.  Flexible Leadership Theory (FLT) provides some of the necessary integration.  We wanted to test a key premise of the theory with empirical research on reasons why some large firms have much better financial performance than others?

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

We hypothesized that efficiency and innovative adaptation completely mediate the relationship between human capital and firm performance.  Scholars have noted that the strategic value of human capital refers to its potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the firm, exploit market opportunities, and/or neutralize potential threats.  According to the FLT model, an important responsibility of top management is to create conditions such that human capital can facilitate the achievement of both efficiency and innovative adaptation together. Our statistical results showed stronger support for partial mediation instead of complete mediation.  Additional research is needed to determine if the results are influenced by attributions made by the raters of human capital.

How do you see this study influencing future research or practice?

On the practice side, strategic leaders need to recognize the importance of talented and devoted employees to bottom line performance, which involves a substantial shift in beliefs about value management in corporations. Today, value is not only the bottom line but value in employee motivation and developing lasting enthusiasm around what they work on.  The time of Neutron Jack (Jack Walsh famous for throwing out 100,000 employees from GE) is over. It’s time for leadership such as of Nissan (Carlos Ghosn, CEO) and Herb Kelleher of South West Airline that cherishes the contributions and loyalty of their employees. Today’s business managers must compete not only for the loyalty of their customers but also for the hearts and minds of their talented employees.  In successful companies talented and motivated employees at all levels help to find ways to reduce cost (e.g., by improving processes, eliminating waste, improving supply chain management, and improving organizational learning).  Talented employees can also facilitate growth in sales (e.g., improving the quality of existing products/services, by entering new product/service markets, by using joint ventures and strategic alliances, by improving knowledge about external environment.  The future research should determine how managers at all levels enhance these processes.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

For many years a key topic in the management literature has been to identify the determinants of long-term successful financial performance for business enterprises.  The literature on strategic management has emphasized two performance determinants that are essential to a firm’s competitive advantage and those are: efficiency which is essential for firms seeking a competitive advantage through the use of a low-cost strategy.  Alternatively, innovative adaptation of products and services that continuously attract customers is essential for businesses using a differentiation strategy. More recently, the strategic human resource management literature uncovered the importance of human capital, or employee talent, as an additional factor influencing organizational effectiveness.  The significance of human capital as a determinant of firm performance is gaining recognition in the strategic management literature, and the need for relating employee talent to a firm’s competitive advantage is continuing to develop in the human resource management literature.  Scholars in both fields have begun to recognize that the performance determinants emphasized in each field are inter-related in complex ways to each other and to the long-term financial performance of a company.  Prior empirical research verifies the importance of each performance determinant individually, and recent research has examined the joint effects of efficiency and innovative adaptation (cf. Li & Li, 2008; Uotila, et al., 2009). However, we were aware of no previous research that examined the joint effects of all three performance determinants on the prosperity and sustainability of a firm.  Highly motivated and talented employees can help a company to achieve efficiency and innovative adaptation, but how much human capital can enhance each determinant of firm performance was still unknown. Whether the three determinants have an additive or multiplicative effect on firm performance is another question that remains unanswered.  A theory that highlights these three factors as key predictors of organizational effectiveness is Flexible Leadership Theory.  The purpose of the current study was to use FLT as a basis upon which to examine: (1) how the three performance determinants jointly affect firm performance; and (2) whether efficiency and innovative adaptation mediate the relationship between human capital and firm performance.

Interest in strategic leadership and its impact on firm performance has increased in recent years, but empirical studies provide limited insight about the intermediary effects on firm performance However, most of the studies were too narrowly focused to explain how top executives influence the financial performance of a large corporation.

The Flexible Leadership Theory (FLT) was formulated in response to the need for a more comprehensive theory of strategic leadership that integrates relevant ideas from several distinct literatures such as leadership, strategy, and human resource management.  The theory explains how top executives influence organization-level processes that determine a firm’s financial performance.  The theory is conceptualized at the firm level wherein organizational effectiveness depends on three primary performance determinants; (1) human capital or talent, (2) efficiency and process reliability, and (3) innovative adaptation, or flexibility.  In essence, the theory suggests that the top management in a company can influence these three performance determinants with programs, systems and structures to ensure they are mutually compatible and consistent with the firm’s competitive strategy.  Formal systems and procedures are also important because they tend to add clarity to employees’ roles, leads to employee commitment, and ultimately lead to organizational effectiveness (Terziovski, 2010). FLT thus bridges a gap between leadership, strategy, and human resource management literatures.

What if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

Empirical research is a difficult process as it involves data collection from various sources.  This study is based on a doctoral dissertation, and the scope was necessarily limited to what was feasible for that type of research project.  A larger, more comprehensive study would include multiple measures and sources for collecting data on constructs such as efficiency, innovative adaptation, and human capital.  Measures of leadership actions and decisions by top management would be included, and the sample would be larger, allowing more control for type of organization and industry.

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A Multilevel Systems Model of Leadership

April 28, 2011

Angelo J. Kinicki, Arizona State University, Katherine J.L. Jacobson, University of New Mexico,  Benjamin M. Galvin, University of Washington Bothell, and Gregory E. Prussia, Seattle University, collaborated on “A Multilevel Systems Model of Leadership,” published in Online First in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.

Professor Kinicki kindly shared his thoughts about the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

The primary target audience is academics interested in the study of leadership. We also feel that our work has practical implications for managers. At senior levels, our macro systems model outlines a process by which a TMT’s vision and strategic goals are cascaded throughout an organization. At unit and dyadic levels, our micro systems model proposes a sequential process that managers can use to manage unit members and individual employees in the pursuit of goal accomplishment.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

My interest in the study of leadership was fueled by my consulting experiences. Having worked with thousands of managers around the world I have come to believe that effective leadership involves a multi-level, dynamic process that has not been practically developed in the literature. Leadership is not linear, and we need practical models or theories to help managers figure out the process by which leader behavior traverses throughout an organization. In other words, leader behavior has ripple effects that impact others across organizational levels and we wanted to articulate how this happens.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Our work is a theoretical contribution so there were no surprising results.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We hope that our work motivates researchers to move away from bi-variate linear studies of the effects of leader behavior. Rather, we would like see others conduct multi-level examinations of the effects of leader behavior based on our models. We also hope to see studies of the additive and multiplicative effects of leadership on organizational, unit, and individual performance.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

Interestingly, my first two publications in graduate school focused on leadership. I moved away from this work and am now returning to it because of the practical value associated with understanding leadership. This work also is consistent with several multi-level or organizational-level studies I have coauthored. My recent work on leadership and organizational culture has convinced me that we need to develop a much deeper understanding about the dynamic relationship between leadership and organizational culture. I am currently working on several projects within this content domain.

How did your paper change during the review process?

The paper was accepted after the first submission and it did not go through any significant changes.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

Nothing. The paper reflects our combined thinking and efforts.

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The Art of Acquisition Integration

April 27, 2011

Contradiction and Sensemaking in Acquisition Integrationby Samia Chreim and Marzieh Tafagood, University of Ottawa, was published in Online First in  Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

Professor Chreim provided some background information on the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Scholars interested in acquisition integration, newcomer experiences, and sensemaking during change in organizations and managers involved in acquisitions and acquisition integration.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

Acquisitions are some of the most complex changes that organizations can undertake. Acquisitions create a lot of uncertainty for organizational members – especially those at the acquired end. Although acquisition integration has been studied from the perspective of organizational members before, research continues to unearth aspects of the experience that contribute further to our understanding of this complex change.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Some findings were surprising – notably that

1) organizations that engage in serial acquisitions will perpetually contain sites of contradiction

2) codification of knowledge gained from previous acquisition experiences does not necessarily enhance subsequent acquisition integration.

Other findings were less surprising, but are important, though not given sufficient attention in the literature. These findings pertain to relationships between acquired and acquiring managers, and how they affect the sensemaking and experiences of acquired managers.

How do you this study influencing future research and/or practice?

This study can influence future research on acquisition integration by directing attention to

1) how managerial roles are experienced during acquisitions

2) how serial acquisitions affect organizations and individuals.

It can also influence research on newcomers, by directing attention to acquired managers – a category of newcomers that has been mainly ignored in the literature.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

I have done research on different aspects/types of change, and this study builds on and extends my past work.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

I would try to negotiate a longitudinal access with the organization in order to follow how acquired managers’ experiences evolve with time.

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Property Rights Design and Market Process

April 26, 2011

“Property Rights Design and Market Process: Implications for Market Theory, Marketing Theory, and S-D Logic” was recently published in Online First in Journal of Macromarketing by Michaela Haase and Michael Kleinaltenkamp, both of Freie Universitat.

Professor Kleinaltenkamp discusses the article below.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Scholars interested in the fields of marketing theory and market theory; preconditions and modes of resource integration; interdisciplinary research at the intersection of law, economics, marketing and other disciplines; institutional economics and institutional sociology.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We were interested in how property rights based analyses can inform service-dominant logic and vice versa. In marketing theory, we have worked on resource integration and the collaboration of the customer in this regard. In service-dominant logic, there is a comparative focus on resource integration and value co-creation. Without the property rights to resources, no service can be exchanged for service. The provision of service depends on the respective property rights bundle held by an economic actor.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

This study developed its arguments theoretically; there was therefore no basis for surprises which could result from a comparison of theoretical and evidence-based sentences.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

The analysis of property rights arrangements leads directly to the study of contracts and thus to a research program at the intersection of economics, law, and other disciplines. We think that this study is part of the development of a property rights-based or contractual approach to marketing. It will hopefully be the beginning of further theoretical and empirical analyses on the relevance of ownership and contractual design for the analysis and making of markets.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

The study draws on several strands of theory building in market and marketing theory which are a source of the resources-processes-outcomes (RPO) approach to the German theory of the firm. The RPO approach identifies three dimensions of a transaction: information, the integration of resources stemming from both parties to a transaction, and property rights. Although no resources can be integrated without having the property rights to them, and ownership as well as non-ownership of resources opens up different opportunities to economic activity, this field of analysis is still rather under-researched in marketing. The rental-access approach by Christopher Lovelock and Everett Gummesson has addressed the relevance of ownership or non-ownership, respectively, for the characterization of transactions and the understanding of market offerings. Although they did not refer to property rights theory in their analysis they highlighted the distinction between ownership and non-ownership and paved thus the way for our distinction between exchange type I and II. Austrian market process theory is another theoretical source of our paper. It emphasizes the relevance of human action and learning processes for the understanding of the market process. Service and the improvement of the actors’s abilities to provide service – learning – is related to this dynamic perspective. 

How did your paper change during the review process?

The paper has gained a lot from the comments of our reviewers and the editing work by Steve Vargo.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

We guess we have built our theoretical study on sound sources which need no change at the actual point of time.

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Control Variables in Management Research

April 25, 2011

Guclu Atinc, and Marcia J. Simmering, both of Louisiana Tech University, and Mark J. Kroll, University of Texas at Brownsville, collaborated on “Control Variable Use and Reporting in Macro and Micro Management Research,” published online first in Organizational Research Methods.

Professor Atinc provided some background information on the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

The target audience for this article is researchers of organizational, behavioral and social sciences. The article is written primarily for those conducting academic research. Although the article compares the use of control variables in macro and micro management, it is generalizable to other fields.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

This paper started as a class paper for a doctoral seminar in research methods. We recognized that, use of control variables in Management research is widely popular. However, there is not enough work done in academia to set the standards for this practice. We aimed to fill this gap.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

The findings were definitely surprising. We found that, the majority of the studies did not make proper use of control variables.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We believe it is going to direct attention to the proper use of control variables in organizational research.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

One of our purposes as organizational researchers is to contribute to the way research is conducted in our field. We believe our study serves that purpose.

How did your paper change during the review process?

The three anonymous reviewers and the action editor of Organizational Research Methods provided us with very valuable comments and recommendations. In fact, based on the reviews we received, we extended our sample, strengthen our criterion for analysis and revised our statistical methods. The quality of our paper increased dramatically based on the insightful comments we received during the review process.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

Most of what we should have done at the first place were identified by the reviewers during the review process. Thus, we believe we did what we were asked to do and met the high quality requirements of Organizational Research Methods. However, we could have used a larger sample size and a more broad set of criteria initially so that the review process could have been easier for both parties (authors and reviewers).

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Family Ownership and Control

April 22, 2011

Maria Sacristan-Navarro, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Silvia Gomez-Anson, University of Leon, and Laura Cabeza-Garcia, University of Oviedo, recently published “Family Ownership and Control, the Presence of Other Large Shareholders, and Firm Permanence: Further Evidence,” in the March 2011 issue of Family Business Review.

Professor Sacristan kindly shared some additional information about the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

We hope this paper may be of interest to academics (especially those belonging to the family business field), but also to family firms’ stakeholders (shareholders, managers and employees).

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

For the “classic” topic –family ownership, family control and performance- there was quite a lot written, but there was no clear answer. The empirical results varied for different institutional settings, samples, methodologies. This fact motivated us to try to understand the underlying reasons for the non-conclusive empirical evidence. Besides, we also observed that the role played in family firms by other significant shareholders had been barely studied.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

In Spain, a country with a high presence of family ownership and family control among listed firms, we found that family ownership does not affect firm performance. What seems to matter is how the family participates in family control. We were also surprised to find that our findings differed from others reported for multi-country European studies and we were also surprised by the apparent monitoring role exercised by the second significant shareholder.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

For researchers, we hope that our study will provide further evidence for critical thinking about family firm performance and the role of second significant shareholders. Besides, we think that our study points to some future possible studies that analyze some questions that have not been answered yet. For instance, why is it that the empirical results about the influence of family ownership and control on company performance may vary for different institutional settings and countries? Do the results vary for large and smaller family firms? Why do the results pertaining to the influence of family generations vary for different institutional settings and samples? How do other large shareholders interact with family CEOs and/or chairmen? Does it matter whether they are represented on the board? Is their influence on firm performance related to the institutional setting, industry, the type of large shareholder they are or their differential ownership holdings in comparison to the first large shareholder? Future analysis of these issues will add evidence to enhance our understanding of one of the most common organizations in worldwide stock markets: family firms.

All these questions have also implications for family firms stakeholders and as they may affect firm performance, also on analysts and future investors.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

This study continues our previous studies in the family business field and in the corporate governance field. In previous papers we studied the chains of control in ownership among family firms, family firms corporate governance structure. We think this study contributes to our line of research adding a deeper understanding of certain relations.

How did your paper change during the review process?

We received very constructive feedback from the reviewers and the editors. This encouraged us to revise our paper, to rewrite it making more explicit its contribution and its implications for researchers and practitioners. Our paper has really changed during this process, being now much more mature and showing better our implications. Definitively, our paper has improved during the review process.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

The only things that we would do differently relate to the writing of the paper, those that we have improved through the review process.

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2011 Maryellen Weimer Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award

April 21, 2011

SAGE is proud to announce that “Philosophy Rediscovered: Exploring the Connections Between Teaching Philosophies, Educational Philosophies, and Philosophy,”  and “Finding Our Roots: An Exercise for Creating a Personal Teaching Philosophy Statement,” both published in Journal of Management Education by Joy E. Beatty, Jennifer S. A. Leigh, and Kathy Lund Dean, have jointly received the prestigious Maryellen Weimer Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award.

The award’s namesake, Maryellen Weimer is a  former director of the Instructional Development Program at  Pennsylvania State University, recipient of Pennyslvania University’s Milton S. Eisenhower award, and the author of eight books, including the recent Learner-Centered Teaching and Enhancing Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning.

Of the 2011 award-winning articles, she wrote,

“The topic is so timely–no one has done anything new on teaching philosophies for some time and this article contributes enormously to our understanding and use of them. “

Listen to Joy E. Beatty, Jennifer S. A. Leigh and Kathy Lund Dean discuss “Philosophy Rediscovered: Exploring the Connections Between Teaching Philosophie, Educational Philosophies, and Philosophy” with Tom Hawk on this recent podcast.  

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Shared Responsibility & Shared Prosperity

April 20, 2011

Today, April 20th, at 1:45 pm PDT /4:45 pm EDT, President Obama will discuss the future of American entrepreneurship live online from  Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California.  The facebook town hall is entitled “Shared Responsibility & Shared Prosperity” in honor of President Obama’s goal to  “celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the Nation.”

In preparation for the President’s speech, learn more about the state of entrepreneurship both in the United States and around the globe  by reading the recent work of SAGE scholars collected below.

Erick P. C. Chang, Esra Memili, James J. Chrisman, Franz W. Kellermanns, and Jess H. Chua published “Family Social Capital, Venture Preparedness, and Start-Up Decisions: A Study of Hispanic Entrepreneurs in New England” in the September 2009 issue of Family Business Review

Blaine McCormick and Van Gray published Message in a Bottle: Basic Business Lessons for Entrepreneurs Using Only a Soft Drink in the April 2011 issue of Journal of Management Education.

Arturs Kalnins and Laure Stroock collaborated on Pouring Israel into a Starbucks Cup,” published in the May 2011 issue of  Cornell Hospitality Quarterly.

Dean A. Shepherd’s recent article, Multilevel Entrepreneurship Research: Opportunities for Studying Entrepreneurial Decision Making, was published in the March 2011 issue of Journal of Management.

David M. Hart and Zoltan J. Acs explored High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneurshipin the United States in the May 2011 issue of Economic Development Quarterly.

David Goss, Robert Jones, Michela Betta and James Latham published “Power as Practice: a Micro-sociological Analysis of the Dynamis of Emancipatory Entrepreneurship” in the March 2011 issue of Organization Studies.

Revealed or Concealed?

April 19, 2011

Zeynep G. Aytug, Hannah R. Rothstein, Wencang Zhou, and Mary C. Kern, all of Baruch College, City University of New York, published “Revealed or Concealed? Transparency of Procedures, Decisions and Judgment Calls in Meta-Analyses in  Online First of Organizational Research Methods. They were kind enough to share some background information about the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Meta-analysts and readers of meta-analyses, not only in industrial and organizational psychology and organizational behavior (IOOB) but also in other fields, are all included in our target audience for the article.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

All of the authors of this paper are interested in research methodology and, specifically, meta-analysis. We had observed that many meta-analyses were missing pieces of information that are needed to assess their validity. Given the important role that meta-analysis plays in summarizing research literatures, this is a serious issue. We decided to see exactly how extensive this problem was in our field.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Most of our findings were not surprising to us, because we had already had some sense of the uneven quality of meta-analysis reporting in IOOB. However, we were not expecting to see that the majority of the meta-analyses in our sample did not report any publication bias or sensitivity analyses, which are absolutely necessary for assessing the robustness of the meta-analytic results.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We hope that our study will lead to improved reporting of meta-analyses. This will enable consumers of meta-analyses, including researchers, practitioners and policy makers to more easily evaluate the validity and generalizability of specific meta-analyses.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

We are all committed to improving the quality of meta-analyses, since we believe it is such an important methodological tool; this study represents one attempt to do so.

How did your paper change during the review process?

The reviewers and editor provided feedback that led us to improve the paper in many ways. Initially, we examined only two journals; based on the comments we received we expanded our sample to 11 journals, and almost 200 meta-analyses. We also increased the number of reporting items we examined, and introduced a set of core “essential to report” items.

What, if anything, would you do if you could go back and do this study again?

We would examine meta-analyses published in other fields within psychology.

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Implementing Change Successfully

April 18, 2011

“What Does It Take to Implement Change Successfully? A Study of the Behaviors of Successful Change Leaders”  by Malcolm Higgs, University of Southampton, and Deborah Rowland, Transcend Consultancy, was published online first in the April 2011 issue of Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. In his responses to the questions below, Professor Higgs elaborated upon the experience of writing the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Academics interested in change leadership as well as practitioners involved with change

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

This is a part of a long standing interest in what it is that enables organisations to change effectively

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

The negative impact of “Shaping” behaviours. Much of this set of practices aligns with what we have heard about effective leadership (e.g. acting as a role model) However, the essence of this finding seems to be that leader centric behaviour gets in the way of implementing change successfully

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Hopefully both!!

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

My overall body of research focuses on both change implementation and leadership. This study brings both together.

How did your paper changed during the review process?

During the review process I was able to provide an improved focus on the core message.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

This is difficult to answer. On reflection I believe that the parctice of “Shaping Behaviors” may have two components – one of which is the leader centric component (negative) and the other being providing direction. The latter may be more positive. In future research I intend to explore this distinction.

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