How Managers Perceive Real-Time Management

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Pernille Rydén of the Technical University of Denmark and Omar A. El Sawy of the University of Southern California. They recently published an article in the California Management Review entitled “How Managers Perceive Real-Time Management: thinking fast & flow,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly describe the inspirations and challenges of this research:]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

We first met in 2014 when Professor El Sawy was giving a talk as part of the Renowned Scholars Seminar Series at the Department of Digitalization at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. Here, we connected and discovered a common research interest in studies of the impacts of digitalization on management. In February 2015, at the University of Southern California, our second conversation ended up as a philosophical brainstorming session lasting several hours. The research idea was born.

Our motivation was sparked by a general curiosity on time as a resource and the many assumptions that relate to real time management strengthened by Professor El Sawy’s profound knowledge on Time Issues, gained from his PhD dissertation, teachings of MBA class on fast response management for almost a decade, plus a new course on real-time management. We then embarked on answering the open question of “what is real-time in the minds of managers?”

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

The profound societal changes triggered by technological disruption also influence our relation to time. We noticed how real time becomes increasingly important for the value proposition of enterprises and their ability to develop and innovate technology-driven products and services. At the same time, we see how people and societies are challenged by this acceleration of time demands. The “faster is better” seems to have severe consequences for people and societies in general and apparently sometimes for the worse, not the better. Many people cannot cope with the accelerating pace of technology and risk suffering from stress and burnout, which eventually slows down business productivity. Thus, there seems to be a need for critically considering how we approach time and the value assessment of real time.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

Since this took of as an explorative study we did not know in advance what direction the study would take. Instead of defining hypotheses and using them as constraining light posts we decided to let the data speak to us, hoping that surprising findings would appear from the data. We tapped into the knowledge potential there is in the “go with the flow” of inductively conducting this type of research. Luckily we were rewarded with surprising empirical as well as theoretical findings. The results indicate that faster is not always better, and that flow is an alternative way to go.

This study embraces the product focus as well as the customer focus to address this paradox (expressed by the famous Henry Ford quote) “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” even though the faster horses eventually will kick them off. The quote is meant to highlight that real-time management is about understanding the underlying drivers of accelerating time and be able to navigate managerial practices accordingly. Those who are able to harness that may stand a better chance of creating lasting value with digital technologies for customers and business.

For more from the journal click here!

Book Review: Everything in Its Place: Entrepreneurship and the Strategic Management of Cities, Regions, and States

Everything in Its PlaceDavid B. Audretsch : Everything in Its Place: Entrepreneurship and the Strategic Management of Cities, Regions, and States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. 184 pp. $35.00, hardcover.

Laszlo Tihanyi recently reviewed this book in the March 2016 issue of Administrative Science Quarterly. From the review:

Everything in Its Place is a reminder that we are all connected to our communities and affected by their successes and failures. For those who study global phenomena, the book offers explanations for why organizations may seek new locations for their activities and abandon others. After decades of efforts for regional integrations, such as the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement, there appears to be a growing trend toward diverse approaches to economic policies by states and regions. The book, with its multidimensional investigation of economic development and ideas on how to manage locations strategically, provides a useful tool to think about how to survive in the new era.

…The main chapters of the book cover the four elements or pillars of the strategic management of place framework: factors of production and resources, the spatial and organizational dimension, the human dimension, and public policy. Each pillar is presented ASQ Coverwith the economic performance of cities, regions, and states in mind. In addition to natural resources and infrastructure, factors of production and resources consist of knowledge resources, universities, skilled and unskilled labor, human capital, and the creative class. The spatial and organizational dimension represents the geographic organization of factors and resources, and the chapter on this pillar focuses on topics such as market power, competition, entrepreneurship, specialization, diversity, and clusters. Audretsch illustrates these topics by telling interesting stories about IBM’s hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York; Helsinki’s rise as a result of Nokia’s success; Detroit’s relationship with the automobile industry; the computer industry in Silicon Valley; SAP’s success in Baden-Württemberg, Germany; and the aerospace industry in Huntsville, Alabama. The chapter on the human element focuses on networks, social capital, organizational identity and image, and leadership. The chapter on public policy provides details on the mandate for local people and organizations to implement the strategic management of place. Effective public policy, according to Audretsch, considers the unique configuration of local resources, potential problems of implementing strategy, and the appropriateness of policy instruments in the contexts of different determinants of economic performance.

You can read the full review from Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and receive research and reviews like this directly in your inbox!

Can a Business Be Socially Responsible and Still Make a Profit?

businessman-holding-crystal-globe-1281812-mAccording to Thompson Reuters, sustainability in business once meant a company covering its operating costs with profits. These days that definition has transformed into a term that refers to a business making decisions that benefit society. But is it possible for an organization to function successfully by adapting a blend of these doctrines? Nardia Haigh and Andrew J. Hoffman explore this idea in their article “The New Heretics: Hybrid Organizations and the Challenges They Present to Corporate Sustainability” from Organization and Environment.

The abstract:

Corporate sustainability has become mainstream; reaching into all areas of business management. Yet despite this progress, oae coverlarge-scale social and ecological issues continue to worsen. In this article, we examine how corporate sustainability has been enacted as a concept that supports the dominant beliefs of strategic management rather than challenging them to shift business beyond the unsustainable status quo. Against this backdrop, we consider how hybrid organizations (organizations at the interface between for-profit and nonprofit sectors that address social and ecological issues) are operating at odds with beliefs embedded in strategic management and corporate sustainability literatures. We offer six propositions that define hybrid organizations based on challenges they present to the beliefs embedded in these literatures and position them as new heretics of strategic management and corporate sustainability orthodoxy. We conclude with the implications of this heretical force for theory and suggest directions for future research.

“The New Heretics: Hybrid Organizations and the Challenges They Present to Corporate Sustainability” from Organization and Environment can be read for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest news and research from Organization and Environment? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Strategic Management Research from ORM

New from Organizational Research Methods (ORM)

ORM is pleased to announce a new virtual issue on the topic of Methodological Issues in Strategy & Strategic Management Research, with all articles free to access now through February 26, 2014.

This virtual issue features 17 articles devoted to methodological issues linked to the study of strategic management.  The articles focus on five different topics: design issues, survey data, innovative approaches to data, qualitative approaches, and construct measurement.

The virtual issue includes, among other articles:

  • Kevin D. Carlson and Jinpei Wu

The  Illusion  of  Statistical  Control: Control Variable Practice in Management Research

  • Cynthia S. Cycyota and David A. Harrison

What  (Not)  to  Expect  When  Surveying  Executives:  A  Meta-Analysis  of  Top  Manager Response Rates  and  Techniques  Over  Time

  • Joshua L. Ray and Anne D. Smith

Using  Photographs  to  Research  Organizations:
Evidence,  Considerations, and Application  in  a Field  Study

Click here to read more articles from the ORM Virtual Issue. Learn more about Organizational Research Methods and sign up for e-alerts about the latest research from the journal.

Examination of Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership styles and their need for further empirical research is compellingly discussed in the newlyjlaw cover published article in Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, “Strategic Leadership: Values, Styles, and Organizational Performance” by Dr. Suzanne M. Carter  and Dr. Charles R. Greer both at Texas Christian University.

Read the abstract:

Strategic leaders are being challenged by stakeholder demands that organizations meet triple bottom line performance measures. Nonetheless, there is a paucity of empirical research on how strategic leaders’ values and leadership styles are related to such measures. We describe values and established and evolving leadership styles and review the results of empirical studies investigating their relationship with organizational performance. Gaps in our knowledge of such relationships are identified and suggestions for future research are provided. A continuum of leadership styles, from transactional through responsible, is developed using the dimensions of stakeholder salience and economic, social, and environmental performance outcomes.

Read the entire article online in Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, and sign up for e-alerts here so you don’t miss out on JABS’ latest articles and issues.

How Leadership Styles Influence Firm Performance

Editor’s note: We are pleased to welcome Suzanne M. Carter of Texas Christian University, whose paper Strategic Leadership: Values, Styles, and Organizational Performance,” co-authored by Charles R. Greer of Texas Christian University, is forthcoming in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section.

My colleague, Bob Greer and I, were surprised to find so many leadership styles being posited in our review of the literature. Moreover, when viewed from the standpoint of the leader’s ability to be successful, it seems that the number of things that leaders are becoming responsible for is growing rapidly. Unfortunately, we still know little, from an empirical standpoint, about whether certain leadership styles tend to lend themselves to better organizational outcomes.

UntitledThe biggest surprise for us, I suppose, was discovering how little we know to date about the influence of leadership styles on firm performance from a top management perspective. In particular, evidence of leadership styles at the top management level on outcomes beyond the financial realm is extremely limited. Although some work is being done on the impact of leadership style on group processes, little empirical work has examined the impact of these styles on triple bottom line organizational outcomes such as environmental responsibility and social issues such as diversity practices.  Most of the work remains theoretical at this stage.

JLOS_72ppiRGB_150pixWI hope that our article spurs an increase in empirical research on this topic. It is essential that we understand the link between leadership style and organizational performance outcomes if we are to understand the benefits of encouraging certain leader behavior.

Read the paper, Strategic Leadership: Values, Styles, and Organizational Performance,” online in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.

We Don’t Need No Education—Or Do We?

How does management education impact practice in the real world? Paula Jarzabkowski of Aston University, Monica Giulietti of the University of Warwick, Bruno Oliveira of of Aston University, and Nii Amoo of Leeds Metropolitan University set out to find the answers in “‘We Don’t Need No Education’—Or Do We? Management Education and Alumni Adoption of Strategy Tools,” published on October 29, 2012 in the Journal of Management Inquiry. The authors kindly provided the following responses about their article.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

There has been an intense debate about the relevance of management education to management practice. Some authors emphasise the multiple benefits of management education while others fiercely criticize the inability of management education to have a real impact in management practice.

However, most of this debate has been supported by theoretical arguments and personal opinions and little robust empirical research has been conducted to assess the impact of management education in practitioners’ activities.

This lack of empirical data to support the ongoing debate inspired us to take action and conduct a piece of research that could help us understand what is the real impact of management education in management practice. Hence, we designed our research to better understand the effects of management education in the use of strategic management tools, which are widely taught in business schools.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Given the intense criticism towards the impact of management education in practice, we were quite surprised by the magnitude of the impact that management education and management training had on the use of strategic management tools. In particular, it was quite unexpected to find out that managers with a postgraduate degree and regular management training can use up to four times the number of tools that managers with only an undergraduate degree would do. This is a highly significant difference, which clearly tells us that management education does have an impact on management practice.

It was also a bit surprising that the specificity of the education (e.g. having specific strategic management education) is not as important as the amount and level of education achieved. In other words, most of the benefits of education were gained by increasing the level of general management education and not by having more focused education in strategy for example.

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

From a research standpoint, this study can have profound impact because it tells use that we need to spend more time discussing what management education does achieve instead of continuously questioning if it has any impact at all. Hence, future research will need to explore the different ways that management education impacts practice.

From a practice standpoint, this research sends a clear message that managers will be better prepared to do their job when they reach higher levels of education and when they invest in regular management training.