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This article examines the way in which identity workspaces function to facilitate and stimulate transitions at mid-career. We explore our collective experience as a cohort of a mid-career management academics participating in a 2-year fellowship program, which acted as an identity workspace in which mid-career identity work took place. Using insights from our narratives, interviews, and experiences, we demonstrate how the fellowship provided rites of passage, experimentation, and social defenses, and we analyze our identity work, in relation to mid-career development, disciplinary orientation, and relationships with existing institutions. We conceptualize the identity workspace as a liminal zone in which to experiment with provisional selves, finding that identity workspaces function through alterity as well as identity, and at a communal as well as individual level. The article draws out the challenges for the academic community to facilitate mid-career identity work experienced in this identity workspace within existing institutions.
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore links between the process of strategy formulation and subsequent performance in operations within firms. Design/methodology/approach - An in-depth literature review on resource-based and operations strategy naturally led to three hypotheses. These are then tested using evidence from field-based case studies of manufacturing/assembly plants in the computer industry. Findings - The research suggests that world-class plants incorporate both strategic operations content and strategic operations processes, whilst low-performing plants do not. Practical implications - It is argued that involving manufacturing/operations managers in the strategic planning process helps align manufacturing and business strategy, and this alignment is associated with higher manufacturing performance. This should be of interest to operations managers and strategists within firms. Originality/value - By linking strategic alignment and the manufacturing strategy process to world-class manufacturing practices and performance, this research adds a new dimension to the study of world-class manufacturing and more generally to the best practices and practice-performance debates.
In this paper we make the case for strategic resonance in the strategy making process within dynamic and highly volatile market conditions. We discuss how managers are faced with competing paradigms of resource-driven versus market-led approaches to strategy but we suggest that both paradigms have flaws and may cause strategic dissonance to occur. Moreover, we offer additional insights into why strategic dissonance can occur within the strategy process of the firm. We suggest that a key omission often lies in the neglect of operations managers’ potentially important contributions to the strategy mainstream process.
This article compares the influence of service quality on customer satisfaction in the United Kingdom and the United States and considers the moderating effect of systematic customer feedback and complaint processes. Propositions are developed concerning country differences based on British conservatism. Hypotheses were tested using data from the International Service Study. The results support the conservatism hypothesis, empirically demonstrating that customer reaction to good service is similar, but U.K. and U.S. customers tend to respond differently to poor service encounters based on cultural norms. The authors propose that customer feedback is an often-overlooked factor in explaining the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction. Much valuable customer feedback may be unrealized in Britain, thus losing the opportunity to improve service design and delivery and creating a vicious cycle. Without intervention, British service firms will continue to deliver levels of service lower than would be acceptable in the United States.
When will individuals speak up about organizational issues, and when will they remain silent? We suggest that organizational voice will be significantly influenced by individuals’ perceptions of the attitudes towards an issue within their workgroup. In particular, individuals will be more likely to speak up when they believe that their position is supported by others, and remain silent when they believe that it is not. We explain this using the ‘spiral of silence’ proposed by Noelle-Neumann (1974, 1985, 1991) and widely used in public opinion research, which explains how majority opinions become dominant over time and minority opinions weakened.
Spirals of silence within groups can restrict the open and honest discussion that is essential to organizational improvement. Noelle-Neumann's spiral of silence emphasizes the horizontal pressures that the threat of isolation and corresponding fear of isolation exert to keep people from being open and honest about their opinions. We argue in this paper that the fear and threat of isolation are particularly powerful for members of invisible minorities such as gay and lesbian employees. We propose a second, vertical ‘spiral of silence’ may develop through processes at a more micro level within the workgroup and organization. This second spiral begins with the inability to fully express one's personal identity within the workgroup because of a negative climate of opinion towards a particular aspect of one's identity. This may be especially true for ‘invisible’ sources of diversity such as sexual orientation. Revealing a potentially disruptive identity might impair social cohesion: concealing it, however, can inhibit social exchange and task exchange and reduce self-efficacy, leading to organizational silence. However, an alternate virtuous spiral can result in which individuals will feel empowered to express organizational voice.
Although the importance of operations in reaching world-class competitiveness has been highlighted in the operations management literature, small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) have been found to have a poor uptake of world-class practices. Reports on a study of 285 SMEs located in Italy, the UK, and other northern European countries. The data are taken from the MICROSCOPE facilitated self-assessment benchmarking database, which studied operations practices and performance in small firms. The level of world-class practices and performance was compared across companies by company size and by country of origin. Significant differences were found between “micro” companies (fewer than 20 employees) and larger companies (between 20 and 200 employees). Other significant differences were found by country, which may be attributed to differences in regional policies and infrastructures regarding small firms.
This paper is concerned with the discipline of Operations Management. The paper looks at the convergence and divergence of research in OM in Scandinavia, the US, and the UK. The three different research traditions are described and analysed separately and then compared and contrasted. A short example is presented from the management of advanced technology literature. A synthesis is offered that locates the three traditions on Jick’s “three-horned dilemma”. Opportunities for researchers in each tradition to learn from the others are described.
This paper provides a cross-country examination of service management practice and performance of service organizations in the UK, the US, and Germany. The findings reported are based on a sample of firms from the international service study from four service sectors: financial services, professional services, hotels, and utilities. The paper argues that generally there are differences in services management practices and performance and, more specifically, that service quality performance may be explained by the nature and market dynamics of the service sector within the individual countries.
In part, cultural differences between Japan and the West have been cited as contributing to fundamentally different manufacturing strategy orientations. One cultural difference is psychological attitudes toward time, which may lead to different emphases on long-term and short-term goals and objectives, i.e., differing strategic time orientations. This paper reports on the analysis of data from an international research study of manufacturing strategy that gathered data from 600 companies in 20 countries. Data on the rates of adoption of strategic manufacturing practices and links between corporate and manufacturing strategy were analysed to test for differences. The results show strong contrasts between Japan and the West and are consistent with a difference in strategic time orientation between the two regions.
This is the third report on the ‘Made in Europe’ research programme. Earlier reports concentrated on the maturity of implementation of ‘best practice’ in both the design and manufacturing processes of larger European companies. Here, the authors shift the focus to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) particularly in Britain and Italy. While few SMEs are in the world-class category, small company practices are customer-oriented, responsiveness-focused and concerned with new products. SMEs’ competitive edge typically comes from speed, responsiveness and closeness to customers. SMEs exhibit a greater level of confidence than larger companies in their ability to make change, but neglect training and education. Within the SME sector there are sharp differences between micro (5–20 employees), small (21–50) and medium-sized (51–200) companies while those which are subsidiaries of larger companies have significantly higher levels of best practice. There are differences between countries and regions.
Voss et al investigate the link between benchmarking and operational performance using a sample of over 600 European manufacturing sites. Benchmarking is linked to the identification and adoption of improved operational practices, an increased understanding of competitive positioning, and the larger context of the learning organization. Benchmarking may indeed contribute to improved operational performance, first through improving the firm's understanding of its competitive position and its strengths and weaknesses, and second through providing a systematic process for effecting change. Learning organizations were more likely to benchmark than other firms.
This article reports on the latest in a series of international comparisons of management practices and performance outcomes of industries in various countries. Here, it is the service industries in the UK and the US which come under the microscope. Among the companies surveyed, there were more world-class performers in the US than the UK, but also more low performers. The concluding part of the article is diagnostic – the authors also suggest measures which could improve performance.
Draws on data collected from two studies conducted by London Business School examining world-class production management practices to ascertain what proportion of European best manufacturing practice comprises Japanese approaches such as lean production, re-engineering, just-in-time and total quality management, and how successfully Japanese approaches can be adopted by Western companies. Compares the different approaches of companies in Japan and the West, revealing for instance that Japanese companies concentrate heavily on preventive maintenance, and studies 750 companies based in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Finland, to assess the effectiveness of their adoption of Japanese best practice. Finds that very few companies have achieved Japanese best practice, the most successful being those companies with Japanese parents, and suggests that companies need to undertake improvement programmes so that they can define what is best practice and how well they are performing. Discusses different agendas for change according to different levels of performance and best practice, and argues that best practice cannot be transferred without adaptation to an organization's own corporate culture, requiring the skills of facilitators, teamwork, a kaizen philosophy and discipline.
This article reports the results of a study of innovation and product development at 245 manufacturing sites in the UK and Germany. It examines the relationship between design and performance and the competitiveness of the UK and Germany in design and manufacturing. Overall, few sites reached “world-class” standards - 9% in Germany and 3% in the UK, although many sites were not far below these standards.
Presents the results of a study examining differences in world-class manufacturing practices and performance between the UK and Germany, based on a sample of more than 500 German and British manufacturing plants. Suggests that although German superiority persists in many areas, it may not be as great as generally assumed. While at the overall level, country-of-origin effects are important, many of the plant sites sampled were part of multinational organizations. Also examines how much of the difference in manufacturing practices and performance at the site level might be attributed to foreign direct investment in manufacturing. Concludes that parent origin does have a significant effect at the site level.
This article reports the results of a study of operational practice and performance in 663 manufacturing sites in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. It reviews the competitiveness of manufacturing in each country against a “world class”scale. The results are examined in more detail examining differences between countries, factors influencing competitiveness such as site size and origin of parent, and agendas for individual countries. Overall a broad spread is found in Northern Europe with disappointingly few world class sites but many reasons for cautious optimism. The best companies are realistic about their position, but the worst are dangerously over-optimistic.
This study reports that CD-1 strain mice are neuropathologically and biochemically responsive to acute doses of tri-ortho-cresyl phosphate (TOCP). Young (25–30 g) male and female animals were exposed (po) to a single dose of TOCP (580–3480 mg/kg) and sampled for neurotoxic esterase (NTE) activity at 24 and 44 hr postexposure and for neuropathic damage 14 days later. Biochemically, high intragroup variability existed at the lower doses, and at higher levels of TOCP exposure (i.e., ≥ 1160 mg/kg), mean brain NTE inhibition never exceeded 68%. Hen and mouse brain NTE activity, assayed in vitro for sensitivity to inhibition by tolyl saligenin phosphate (TSP), the active neurotoxic metabolite of TOCP, showed similar IC50 values. Histologically, highly variable spinal cord damage was recorded throughout treatment groups and mean damage scores followed a dose-response pattern with no apparent correlation to threshold (i.e., ≥ 65%) inhibition of brain NTE activity. Topographically, axonal degeneration in the mouse spinal cord predominated in the lateral and ventral columns of the upper cervical cord. Unlike the rat, which displays degeneration in the upper cervical cord's dorsal columns (i.e., gracilis fasciculus) in response to TOCP intoxication, treated mice showed minimal damage to this tract. To examine this discrepancy further, ultrastructural morphometric analysis of axon diameters in the cervical cord was performed in control mice and rats. These results indicated that in both species, the largest diameter (≥ 4 μm) axons are housed in the ventral columns of the cervical spinal cord, suggesting that axon length and diameter may not be the only criteria underlying fiber tract vulnerability in OPIDN.
This article presents the results of a survey which examined the technical decision making in state-owned Chinese business enterprises. The survey presented an analysis of enterprise demographic data which revealed a substantial legacy of central planning and affirmed the existence of more favored state enterprises. The survey also reaffirmed the rationality of Chinese management within the overall context of a centrally planned system and illustrated how different rationalities exist among economic systems