Meetings and Team Management: Are traditional meetings still relevant in today’s tech-driven world?

Bus and MgmtNot for nothing are so many “Dilbert” comic strips set in meetings. Notorious for wasting  time, dulling motivation and draining creativity, meetings are widely seen as a necessary evil—one poll found that 46 percent of Americans prefer almost any “unpleasant activity” over a meeting. Not surprisingly, managers are trying to reinvent meetings to make them more productive and to meet the changing needs of a 21st-century economy. Technology and startup companies are experimenting with meeting formats and lengths, and some established organizations are following suit. And as staffs become more diverse, managers and researchers say meeting3946708876_2d75a7d26d_z dynamics must include more points of view, communication styles and ways of arriving at decisions. Some experts agree that new technologies may help solve many problems associated with routine meetings. Yet others say that changing corporate culture is more important. Among the questions under debate: Is technology fundamentally changing the nature of meetings? Are planned meetings better than spontaneous meetings? Can women be heard in meetings?

Joanne Cleaver, a freelance writer who has covered business for numerous publications, has written an in-depth report for SAGE Business Researcher on the relevance of traditional meetings in the modern business world. Below is an excerpt from her report:

As the pace of business accelerates, managers are trying to reinvent meetings. Technology and startup companies are experimenting with meeting formats and lengths, and some established organizations are adopting the resulting new practices. The emergence of the flat corporate structure (i.e., few bosses overseeing an army of self-directed, self-managing staff) appears to be diametrically opposed to traditional meeting culture. And as staffs become more diverse in terms of gender, generation and ethnicity, managers and researchers say meeting dynamics must adapt to include more points of view, more styles of communication and more ways of arriving at decisions.

This change is sending stress fractures through long-standing meeting culture and assumptions. From intern orientations to board of director assemblies, many meetings are happening in different ways, with different players, for different reasons.

Workers typically loathe meetings because they appear to wick away the one thing no one can make more of: time. For 18 percent of Americans, a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles is a more appealing way to spend time than attending a “status” meeting – a prototypical form of meeting in which attendees update each other on the progress of various projects, according to a survey released in 2015 by software company Clarizen.[1]

You can read the full report free for the next two weeks by clicking here. If you would like more information about SAGE Business Researcher, please click here.

[1] “Clarizen Survey: Workers Consider Status Meetings a Productivity-Killing Waste of Time,” Clarizen, Jan. 22, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/nbgpbye.

Environmental Proactivity: An Economic Booster for Firms?

[We’re pleased to welcome Jesús Valero-Gil of University of Zaragoza. Professor O&E_Mar_2012_vol26_no1_Cover_Final.inddValero-Gil co-authored an article with Pilar River-Torres, Concepcion Garces-Ayerbe, and Sabina Scarpellini of University of Zaragoza in the September 2015 issue of Organization & Environment entitled “Pro-Environmental Change and Short- to Mid-Term Economic Performance: The Mediating Effect of Organisational Design Change” .]

 The relationship between environmental proactivity and financial results in firms has been widely studied, and different conclusions have been obtained. Both from a theoretical and an empirical perspective, numerous authors have come to different and opposite results. This phenomenon inspired a new work in the topic. Given this lack of consensus, the idea that the relationship between environmental and financial performance is not as obvious as it might seem arises. The complexity of the relationship between pro-environmental measures and performance, suggesting that there are certain moderating and mediating variables in this relationship.

The abstract:

The aim of this study is to contribute empirically to the understanding of the economic effects of pro-environmental change in firms. First, we analyse whether pro-environmental changes performed in different sections of firms’ value chain (products, processes and supply and distribution channels) generate positive economic returns in the short- to mid-term. Second, we analyse whether measures implemented by firms to improve environmental performance (pro-environmental change) have been complemented with changes in organisational design, and whether these changes help increase short- to mid-term economic performance. Through an analysis of a sample of 303 firms, we have collected empirical evidence that confirms that pro-environmental change improves short- to mid-term business performance both directly and indirectly, through the mediating effect of improvements in organisational design that often go hand in hand with these processes.

You can read “Pro-Environmental Change and Short- to Mid-Term Economic Performance: The Mediating Effect of Organisational Design Change” from Organization & Environment free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from Organization & Environment? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Is Joint Achievement of Customer Satisfaction and Efficiency Beneficial in Merger Contexts?

[Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to welcome Vanitha Swaminathan, who collaborated with Christopher Groening, Vikas Mittal, and Felipe Thomaz on their paper “How Achieving the Dual Goal of Customer Satisfaction and Efficiency in Mergers Affects a Firm’s Long-Term Financial Performance” from the May issue of Journal of Service Research.]

02JSR13_Covers.indd• What inspired you to be interested in this topic?
This paper began by looking at the often repeated assertion that mergers lead to reductions in customer satisfaction. While one may believe this to be the case, there is evidence that customer satisfaction improvements actually increase financial value…which led us to ask the question, would managers wishing to maximize shareholder value reduce their focus on customer satisfaction in a merger? Following this, we wondered if a focus on both customer satisfaction and efficiency improves shareholder value even more in a merger context.

• Were there findings that were surprising to you?
Contrary to what conventional wisdom regarding mergers and customer satisfaction, we found that a dual emphasis on both customer satisfaction and efficiency improvements will actually benefit firms in a merger context. I think the biggest surprise was our finding that non-merged firms did not significantly benefit from a dual emphasis. In other words, we thought that a merged firm would find greater value in a dual emphasis, but not that a non-merged would find little to none.

• How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice? It will help to go deeper into analyzing why customer satisfaction and efficiency improvements in merger contexts facilitate shareholder value maximization, more so than non-merger settings. Is it the improved availability of resources, or greater access to more profitable customer groups? Is it due to the creation of new synergies between the merging companies?
Addressing these questions will help increase our understanding of when to best implement these typically opposing goals (i.e., efficiency and customer satisfaction improvements) even in non-merger settings.

Read “How Achieving the Dual Goal of Customer Satisfaction and Efficiency in Mergers Affects a Firm’s Long-Term Financial Performance” from Journal of Service Research for free by clicking here. Don’t forget to click here to sign up for e-alerts and be in the know about all the latest from Journal of Service Research!

swaminathan-vanithaVanitha Swaminathan is Associate Professor of Business Administration and Robert W. Murphy Faculty Fellow in Marketing at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests revolve around branding strategy and consumer-brand relationships.GroeningChris_1

Christopher Groening is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the College of Business at Kent State University. Chris’s current academic research centers around investigating stakeholder influence on the financial outcomes of a firm.

MittalPhotoVikas Mittal is J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Marketing at the Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University and Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.Thomaz

 

Felipe Thomaz is a doctoral candidate at the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Mutual Learning for Taiwan’s Tourist Hotels with the DEA Approach

Chung-Te Ting, Chang Jung Christian University, and Chin-Wei Huang, Taiwan Shoufu University, published “Measuring the Effectiveness of Mutual Learning for Taiwan’s Tourist Hotels with the DEA Approach” on December 16th, 2011 in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here. Professor Ting kindly provided the following responses to the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

This article aims at introducing an innovative application in hotel industry research. Academic readers are mainly the target audience. The results of empirical evaluation provide some findings in management knowledge that are also suitable for hoteliers to study.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

Confronting a competitive environment in Taiwan, the mutual learning strategy has become a popular activity within different hotel operating types in recent years. Some hotels adopting the way are successful, but there are some failures. We hopes to find a method that can guide the operators in a right direction which indicates what operating type will be successful in the usage of strategy

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

In literature, many former works evaluated that leisure hotels perform higher efficiency than business. Our evaluation reveals a reverse result, which implies that using different models to measure hotel industry efficiency will lead to different finding. It is a surprise in our research.

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

This study evaluates that technology sets of the two operating types is different and calculates efficiencies based on the assumption of non-homogeneous frontier. This assumption is very rare in literature. Future researches analyzing the difference between various hotel types can introduce the assumption into methodology.

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

Line of our research focus on hotels’ efficiency assessment and explore the gap between different hotel types. Many former works of our search investigated the difference between chain and non-chain hotels. the extension of analyzing leisure and business hotels make the line of research become more comprehensive.

How did your paper change during the review process?

Reviewers provided many insightful comments and suggestions. We made corresponding changes in accordance with the comments. The changes include increasing more discussion about policy implications, adding recent literature on DEA research on the hotel industry, clearly defining the mutual learning strategy, and using a more appropriate method to determine the efficient and inefficient value.

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

We use the single period data to measure the efficiency and strategy effectiveness in this study. In order to review a dynamic performance, using the multi-period data to evaluate the changes in efficiency and strategy effectiveness is also a great direction if we want to do the research again.

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