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A system of exchange for marketing pharmaceuticals to developing countries is described, identifying the key conflicts among its constituents. A research agenda for marketing is suggested, involving both systemic characteristics and exchange behaviours. A framework for public policy appropriate for governments in the developing world is proposed.
This paper considers the claim that explicit profit sharing reduces the marginal cost of labour This is contrasted with the view that implicit profit sharing occurs through wage bargaining Using a microeconomic data set from the UK we find no evidence that the introduction of profit sharing reduces base wages and hence the marginal cost of labour However firm profitability is found to have a positive effect on wages which supports the hypothesis of implicit profit sharing through wage bargaining These findings suggest that it is hard to justify the favourable tax treatment of profit related pay found in the UK
A study investigated the effect of the higher tax cost of paying dividends for firms in the surplus advance corporation tax (ACT) position. If taxes do have a significant influence on dividend choices, then it would not be unreasonable to expect a firm moving into a surplus ACT position to increase its dividends by less than it might otherwise have done, and a firm moving out of a surplus ACT position to increase its dividends by more than it would otherwise have done. The study was based on annual company account information for a sample of 1,218 quoted UK industrial and commercial firms over the period 1970-1990. It was found that the higher tax cost of paying dividends for firms with surplus ACT does put downward pressure on the level of their dividend payments. Therefore the hypothesis that taxes have no effect on company dividends is rejected. Although the estimates of the size of this effect were very tentative, they do cast some doubt on the very large tax effects that have been suggested by some aggregate time-series studies.
This paper extends the results of Boadway and Bruce (Journal of Public Economics, 1984, 24, 231–239) and Fane (Journal of Public Economics, 1987, 33, 95–105) to describe a tax on business profits which is neutral with respect to investment and wind-up decisions, and default outcomes, under uncertainty and bankruptcy risk. The tax base allows deductions for depreciation and the cost of finance, but requires knowledge of neither true economic depreciation nor the firm's required rate of return. We show that the tax must treat taxable profits and losses symmetrically, and that the tax rate must be a known constant, even in the special case when the tax base coincides with the economic rent earned in each period.
This paper investigates the process by which East German enterprises have been privatized and their resulting ownership and control structure. A corporate system with a very high level of concentration of ownership has been created. This is particularly closely associated with ownership and direct control by West German companies. The paper argues that this has allowed East German enterprises to gain access to finance, markets, and managerial skills which they might otherwise have been denied. The resulting "insider" system of corporate control will over time allow East German companies to participate in the control of their own and West German companies. The Treuhandanstalt has organized the privatization process to achieve certain industrial and social objectives. It has broken up the large multiplant enterprises to an extent that East German enterprises are now smaller than their West German counterparts. It has used informal liquidations rather than formal bankruptcies to be able to achieve its objectives. Privatizations have not involved the flotation of companies on the stock market. Instead, the Treuhand has arranged share and asset transfers on a scale which is in excess of merger activity commonly observed in the West.
We consider contracts to purchase assets by means of streams of payments over time, with the asset as security. These give the purchaser an option not present if all payment is made up front, the option of stopping payments and delivering the asset in satisfaction of the remaining debt. We argue that the value inherent in such options explains the attractions of asset-backed loans, employee stock option plans and MBOs.
New technology and expanding service capabilities are leading both to substantial competition in the telecommunications industry, and also to the demise of public ownership. The case of Deutsche Telekom illustrates that although public sector status failed to provide sufficient strategic or organisational flexibility in a dynamic market this was less due to the public sector institutions of industrial relations themselves, than to the interaction of institutions with political decisions, which reduced Telekom’s ability to restructure itself in an increasingly competitive environment. Nevertheless, the privatisation of Telekom also highlights the central co-ordinating role of the public sector’s hierarchical Personalräte works council structure. The strategic challenges for unions inherent in the decentralised private sector works council system illuminate the importance of unions providing interworks council co-ordination, in addition to the usually emphasised co-ordination between union and works council—an ability central to unions retaining their influence under conditions of increasing decentralisation.
We estimate the impact of taxation on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, using data on flows between seven countries for 1984 through 1989, and a sophisticated measure of the cost of capital. We find that the choice between domestic investment and total outward FDI is not significantly affected by taxation but that taxation does affect the location of outward FDI. These results are used to examine the impact of tax integration systems. Giving a tax credit to foreign shareholders may induce a large increase in inward FDI from exemption countries but not from partial-credit countries. For the United States, the total effect would be small.
We have developed our proposals in the context of the current UK tax system, but our final report contains more general lessons for the taxation of savings and profits. The system that we describe is particularly appropriate for adoption within the European Union. We have used the current UK system to illustrate how, in practical terms, our objectives for savings and profits can be achieved. We show how our proposals produce over time a rational basis for taxing savings and profits.
This paper analyses the impact on production efficiency of potential harmonisation of the taxation of income from capital in the European Union. It develops and applies a methodology for computing the cost of capital for transnational investments to assess the degree to which production efficiency holds in the EU. It considers the impact of potential forms of corporation tax harmonisation. The results indicate that some commonly advocated reforms (e.g. harmonising tax rates or tax bases) would not significantly move the tax system towards production efficiency, but that other reforms which affect the taxation of cross-border flows would have more impact.
This seminar will provide an overview of 18 months of Ph.D dissertation research on the interplay of gender and horticultural production in Meru District, Kenya. The significance of this project is that horticulture "traditionally" the domain of women, has become rapidly intensified and commercialized for export production. My research examines the implications of horticultural exports for women's rights to land and labor by focusing on the district's most important horticultural export crop, French beans. While French beans remain widely grown throughout the District, both production and sales have dropped dramatically since 1993. Thus, this project explores how the fluctuation of multinational capital is restructuring social life, transforming domestic relations and precipitating new class configurations. My tentative findings include a host of social crises: a staggering population growth rate (3.9 percent) that has incited acute pressures on constricting land resources and catalyzed an escalation of clan and court cases related to land disputes; an exacerbation of domestic violence and deviant social behavior such as prostitution, rape and incest; ubiquitous occurrences of alcohol abuse; and finally, the transformation of French bean market centers into loci of corruption and duplicity. These social dynamics underscore the tensions that emanate in an atmosphere of financial disintegration that is coupled with an absence of prospects for economic amelioration. As the panacea of French bean wanes women have turned to Christ to cope with the economic plights of their households. The omnipresence of Christianity powerfully shapes all aspects of social change, as the convictions of female submission and male dominance are propagated through variant Christian ideologies and men face the backlash of such indoctrination by women bewitching or poisoning them. Thus the material and ideational reconstruction that has taken root invokes significant queries on the gender dimensions of power and raises important questions for the gender implications of agrarian change in the horticultural sector.
Considers progress made in involving doctors in management, drawing on available ethnographies of local health-care systems and a small-scale study of consultants who have moved into clinical director roles or the equivalent. Specifically considers the extent to which the sample believes consultant roles have changed as a result of the recent reorganization of the NHS and general concerns about the involvement of doctors in management.
The translation of research into practice is currently a high-profile issue in the NHS. A number of regions have undertaken work in this area. Reports on a project that is part of the Anglia and Oxford Regions's “Getting Research into Practice” (GRiP) initiative. The work focuses on the use of steroids in pre-term delivery, a procedure that medical evidence suggests can reduce neo-natal mortality and morbidity. Presents a number of findings which suggest that getting research into practice does not merely rest on the availability of well-researched evidence.
There is much theoretical debate about the differences between management in the public and private sectors. But what of differences between the two sets of managers? Research has shown that public managers are less positive when faced with change that their private sector counterparts. There are, however, good reasons for this.
Discusses a company deciding what it should do to manage its worldwide hedging operations.
Amoco Corp. is negotiating to sell a wholly-owned subsidiary, MW Petroleum, to Apache Corp. MW owns large reserves of oil and gas comprising many properties at different stages of engineering, development, and production. The proposed acquisition is a large one for Apache and poses several important financing and valuation problems. This case focuses on evaluation and execution of a creative financing structure that allows the buyer and seller to reallocate oil price risk.
This review examines trends in the economy and industrial relations in 1994 and goes on to consider the implications for unions of the continuing restructuring of organizations in the public and private sectors. The background is one of cyclical improvement in economic performance, with low inflation and strong growth feeding through to higher profit margins. Firms are shown to have enjoyed the benefits of the upturn with little pressure from labor for a greater share of the surplus. Unsurprisingly, employers have not generated much demand for further reform of the industrial relations system. Unions, on the other hand, have remained largely on the defensive, from a combination of job insecurity among their members, organizational constraints and political marginalization. Initiatives from the TUC show evidence of the union movement trying to develop a new set of strategies to break out of the spiral of decline.
This article examines changes in the financial performance of British trade unions in the early 1990s. Using survey data, it looks for a relationship between changes in financial management and changes in financial performance. Unions have continued to increase the concentration of financial decision-making and the sophistication of financial systems. However, financial concerns have become no more central to union decision-making and as a result financial management improvements do not lead to improvements in financial performance. We argue that new financial management techniques lead to increases in the cost base as union organizations become more centralized and bureaucratic. The implications for representative effectiveness are discussed.
By criticizing the prevailing network models in the policy science literature, we hypothesize that regional networks are not helpful for a company per se; network membership may be used for purposes unique to the dominating firm. Thus, institutional linkages can most fruitfully be analysed by looking at the level of the firm, and the role played by a firm's interpretation and shaping of its environment. For this purpose we look at the historical gestation of the corporate capabilities of Bosch, a large automotive component firm in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Our research suggests that we discard the hypothesis that Bosch's position is heavily reliant upon a cooperative network with SMEs; instead we suggest an analysis along Chandlerian lines. The present changes in component sourcing policies of large car manufacturers will decrease the Multinational Corporations' dependency upon any particular regional network. The manufacturers' strategic decisions about sourcing policy, research linkages and location of manufacturing facilities reflect management's evaluation of the benefit of network membership. More specifically, for firms engaged in global competition, even if they have been largely nationally based in the past, global linkages have become overwhelmingly important.
In marketing and operations literature, there is an emerging consensus that the inter-firm network is of strategic significance. The assumption that supply networks are always out there waiting to be investigated is challenged. Rather than treat networks as objective artifacts, the extent to which they are invented and chosen by actor(s)/observer(s) is explored. Examples are used to illustrate this argument.
Although there is growing enthusiasm for supply chain managementand integrated logistics, much prescriptive writing rests on a flimsyempirical base. Explores the methodological dilemmas which arise inresearch in logistics practice. Presents three contrasting models ofresearch frameworks. Outlines the experiences of a novel investigationinto supply chain integration in the UK carried out in the first half of1994. Makes recommendations about the use of secondary data, andstrategies for future research.
It is generally agreed that stockholder/bondholder agency conflicts are an important factor in the determination of corporate debt maturity policies. It has also frequently been argued that agency considerations favor shorter debt maturities. In this paper, we show that if the locus of the agency problem is the firm's ability to manipulate the timing of firm cash flows, short-term debt induces an agency problem by encouraging investment myopia. Despite this, short-term debt may be an optimal financing vehicle when the agency conflict is accompanied by asymmetry of information between the firm and outside investors. Further, long-term covenanted debt, which eliminates myopic bias in investment policies, may induce negative informational effects sufficiently powerful to preclude its use.
A common theme in the literature on corporate control is that, when share ownership is diffuse, the free-rider problem prevents raiders from making acquisitions at tender prices below the postacquisition share price. In this paper, we address this question by formulating a nonstandard model of takeovers of diffusely held firms. It is demonstrated that, even when individual shareholdings are infinitesimal relative to firm size, takeovers succeed with positive probability and equilibria exist in which the raider earns substantial per share profits. Further, the Nash equilibria of the game are characterized with regard to raider profit, the aggregate fraction of shares tendered, and the relation between raider profit and the degree of randomization exhibited by shareholder tendering strategies.
We present an economic mechanism and supportive empirical evidence for the transmission of information between equity securities first documented by Lo and MacKinlay (1990). It is argued that the past returns on stocks held by informed institutional traders will be positively correlated with the contemporaneous returns on stocks held by noninstitutional uninformed traders. Evidence consistent with this hypothesis is then presented. We document that the returns on the portfolio of stocks with the highest level of institutional ownership lead the returns of portfolios of stocks with lower levels of institutional ownership. This effect persists even after firm size is controlled for and is apparent at longer lags than the size-related lag effect documented in Lo and MacKinlay (1990).
The authors analyze the optimal design of debt maturity, coupon payments, and dividend payout restrictions under asymmetric information. They show that, if the asymmetry of information is concentrated around long-term cash flows, firms finance with coupon-bearing long-term debt that partially restricts dividend payments. If the asymmetry of information is concentrated around near-term cash flows and there exists considerable refinancing risk, firms finance with coupon-bearing long-term debt that does not restrict dividend payments. Finally, if the asymmetry of information is uniformly distributed across dates, firms finance with short-term debt.
This article addresses the problem faced by a regulated natural monopolist who must raise outside funds to finance socially desirable projects. We demonstrate that fair rate of return utility price regulation will lead to underinvestment incentives in the presence of asymmetric information between the firm and the capital markets regarding the firm's assets and future costs. This problem is especially severe when financing choice is restricted to equity. Underinvestment can be either completely eliminated by adjusting the allowed rate of return above the fair rate or reduced by switching to debt finance.
This paper considers a problem in which an agent is hired to manage a capital investment and subsequently receives private information regarding the productivity of the capital investment. The capital manager must decide whether to invest capital supplied by the firm (the principal), or to divert these investment funds to perquisite consumption. If the manager decides to invest, the manager must then select the level of operating efficiency (productivity) of the capital investment, this latter choice being unobservable and constrained by the (maximal) productivity of the investment. In this setting we demonstrate that the optimal employment contract, from the perspective of the firm hiring the manager, is the contract whichminimizes the dependence of the manager's compensation on firm output. This contract pays the manager a fixed wage whenever output from the investment exceeds the wage and provides the manager with all of the projects rents whenever output falls below this level. Thus, we provide a setting in which fixed wage contracts are the optimal incentive contract even when agents are risk neutral and contracts can be costlessly written on future output.
The relationship between asset demand and information quality in rational expectations economies is analyzed. First we derive a number of new summary descriptive statistics that measure four basic characteristics of investment style: asset selection, market timing, aggressiveness, and specialization. Then we relate these statistics to the divergence between a given investor's information structure and the market average information structure. Finally, we demonstrate that informational differentials can be identified, and consistently estimated, using OLS from the time series of observed asset demand.
We examine competition between groups of producers when consumers prefer costly `ethical' production technologies. Consumers are unable to identify or monitor production technologies. Producers can freeride on their group's `reputation' by substituting cheaper `unethical' technologies. When an ethical technology is Pareto-optimal, social pressures within competing producer groups can ensure long-run dominance of groups relying most heavily on the ethical technology. Even if social pressures cannot support the choice of the ethical technology in the long run, competition between producer groups can increase the average level of adoption of the ethical technology for an arbitrarily long period of time.
This study uses a variety of methods—reactive and unobtrusive—to operationalize the filtering of information during an innovative decision process by a gatekeeper. Specific data are presented on gatekeeping within the focal organization and also between the focal organization and other organizations in its organization set. Theoretically, the paper explores the increased possibilities for filtering information under the uncertain conditions of an innovative decision. Power is discussed both in terms of the resources which form the base of an actor's power and also the tactics of resource use. The focus on decision making as a political process provides an emphasis lacking in current organizational studies.
A study of the power and influence of part-time board members in the top 200 UK industrial and commercial firms and the top 50 UK financial institutions is presented. The part-time board members hold multiple roles of either chairman and/or non-executive director of these organizations. The findings are presented around a tripartite model of power and influence. The results indicate that the power and influence of part-time board members is shaped by the simultaneous and interactive effects of a set of structural contextual factors, position and skill in mobilizing a constellation of power sources, and skill and will in converting potential power into actual influence.
Total Quality Management (TQM) has become, according to one source, `as pervasive a part of business thinking as quarterly financial results,' and yet TQM's role as a strategic resource remains virtually unexamined in strategic management research. Drawing on the resource approach and other theoretical perspectives, this article examines TQM as a potential source of sustainable competitive advantage, reviews existing empirical evidence, and reports findings from a new empirical study of TQM's performance consequences. The findings suggest that most features generally associated with TQM-such as quality training, process improvement, and benchmarking-do not generally produce advantage, but that certain tacit, behavioral, imperfectly imitable features-such as open culture, employee empowerment, and executive commitment-can produce advantage. The author concludes that these tacit resources, and not TQM tools and techniques, drive TQM success, and that organizations that acquire them can outperform competitors with or without the accompanying TQM ideology.
This feature within the European Retail Digest is designed to highlight the shifting focus of marketing activities undertaken by European retailers from a mass- to a micro-marketing orientation. This short contribution reviews the issues associated with the increasing popularity of customer loyalty schemes and focused database marketing activity by grocery retailers in particular across Europe. These schemes have made headlines in the popular press of the Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium and the UK.
Presents updates on the retail trade in Romania as of June 1995. Penetration of private sector interests as a proportion of total retail sales volume; Ownership of consumer durables; Foreign involvement with Romanian retailing
ABN-AMRO, the largest bank in the Netherlands, must decide whether to take any action in regard to the poor performance of Smit Transformatoren, a Dutch transformer manufacturer. ABN-AMRO acted as lead underwriter for the IPO of Smit, and also released a favorable equity research report around the time of the IPO. Smit's stock price initially performed favorably, but then fell significantly in conjunction with poor earnings announcements and other bad news.
Supplements the (A) case.
The chief financial officer of a rapidly growing U.S.-based software firm that sells its process-control software to industrial users around the globe must review the goals, strategies, and policies of the firm's currency hedging program. This review is prompted by changes in the firm's business, notably its acquisition of a United Kingdom subsidiary, other growing overseas expenses, and its recent initial public offering.
Rick Melnick oversees the Student Educational Loan Fund (SELF), which provides loans to Harvard Business School students. SELF is changing the terms of student loans from variable-rate with semiannual payments to fixed-rate loans with equal monthly payments. Melnick must decide how to finance SELF in light of the new loan mix. SELF can use a wide range of interest-rate derivative products to modify the terms of its existing financing.
This article outlines Conservative legislation on union government, documenting extensive regulation in place by 1994. It looks at the major objectives of government policy, including the twin themes of encouraging individualism and reducing union power. The degree of success achieved is examined and a framework in terms of competing rationalities outlined.
This paper examines the relationship between one form of manufacturing flexibility - operational mobility (or the ability to change quickly between products) - and structure, infrastructure and managerial policy at the plant level. Using data from a broader study aimed at exploring the general sources of manufacturing flexibility, the paper provides evidence of the strength of the links between manufacturing flexibility and such factors as scale, technology vintage, computer integration and workforce management. There has been little empirical work on this subject, partly as a result of the difficulties of defining and measuring flexibility. The type of flexibility explored in this paper is specifically the capability of a plant to change between process states quickly. I find that most of the variance in flexibility across plants can be explained by a combination of structural factors, such as the scale of the plant; infrastructural factors, such as the length of service of the operators; and measures of managerial emphasis, such as the perceived importance of making quick changeovers. Of these factors, I find that the scale of a plant does not strongly inhibit its flexibility and that computer integration is either insignificant or detrimental to the flexibility of a plant. Workforce characteristics are also important determinants of flexibility, and the results suggest that less experienced operators may be more flexible in their ability to make certain types of change quickly between products. A strong determinant of the flexibility of a plant is the extent to which operators perceive managers to have emphasized the importance of various performance dimensions. Finally, I show that different forms of flexibility are not necessarily related to each other. This emphasizes the importance of identifying precisely the particular type of flexibility that is to be developed when building manufacturing capabilities.
Manufacturing managers in a broad array of industries agree that achieving low cost and high quality is no longer enough to guarantee success. In the face of fierce, low-cost competition and an army of high-quality suppliers, companies are increasingly concentrating on flexibility as a way to achieve new forms of competitive advantage. Having acknowledged the importance of flexibility, however, managers in industry after industry are finding it frustratingly difficult to improve. In a quest to help manufacturing managers begin to understand why the improvement of flexibility has been so elusive, author David Upton embarked on a study of more than 60 factories in North America that manufacture fine paper. Upton found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the flexibility of the plants depended much more on the people in the operation than any technical factor. At many plants, managers have embraced computer integration as the solution to the growing need to forge new capabilities. In reality, computer systems are often a quick fix that helps managers to avoid the tremendously difficult task of defining precisely what kind of flexibility they require from a plant and then setting goals, revamping measurements and compensation systems, building training programs, and overhauling work practices in order to achieve that flexibility. If a plant manager is to set about improving a plant's flexibility, where should he or she start? The type of flexibility a given company should emphasize depends strongly on its competitive environment.
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.
The use of derivatives--a broad term referring to such diverse instruments as futures, swaps, and options--has become increasingly popular in recent years as corporations look for new and better ways to manage risk. The high-profile losses of Procter & Gamble, Metallgesellschaft, and other companies are sending an important signal to senior managers: financial decisions that were previously designed and implemented by specialists need to be monitored more closely from the very top of organizations. In "A Framework for Risk Management" (November-December 1994), Kenneth A. Froot, David S. Scharfstein, and Jeremy C. Stein present a guide for helping managers develop a coherent risk-management strategy. This issue's Perspectives section opens up the discussion on derivatives to a group of experts. "For a company to manage its exposures effectively, it must first know that it has them." - Cheryl Francis, FMC Corporation. "Derivatives are simply the building blocks of financial instruments--and whether they are destructive or beneficial depends on context." - Arvind Sodhani, Intel Corporation. "Derivative instruments are no more than tactical tools--albeit very valuable ones--for implementing risk-management strategies." - David B. Weinberger, Swiss Bank Corporation.
The continuing debate on production and operations management (POM) research has led to a new emphasis on empirical methods. Claims that, while surveys and case research are increasingly recommended to POM researchers, action research has been relatively neglected. The distinct characteristic of action research is the intervention by the researcher in the situation under study. The nature of the intervention, and of action research outputs, differs however from consulting or from the applications reported by APICS. Explains these differences and offers a simple model of action research. Action research is particularly valuable for theory building, as has been seen in the fields of organization behaviour (OB) and management information systems (MIS), where qualitative methods have often been employed rather than traditional scientific methods. POM researchers can learn from the experience of other disciplines and use action research to create new theory. Since many POM researchers will be unfamiliar with action research, explores some practical aspects of conducting such investigations with illustrations from the author's own research experience. Concludes by showing that a properly conducted action research project can be as rigorous as other methods.
A series of action research projects designed information systems for the management of batch manufacturing operations in the UK. The style of management used in these companies, which was termed priority management, arose from internal and external volatilities which precluded the prescriptive systems normally associated with operations management. What companies required was a data structure which gave 'vision' over the situation and enabled priority choices to be made. These structures arc called order-book models. The design of order-book models for priority management became, as the multisitc action research project progressed, a prescriptive process supported by simple tools, some of which are described. A major conclusion from the project was the need to give data structure an important role in relation to management action, and not only in relation to software. A model of systems effectiveness is proposed of which this data-driven aspect is a major feature.
Research on quality in Japan has emphasized technical issues, but there is much to be learned from more organizational elements. Presents material from major Japanese corporations on the role of the centre in quality, the organizing of quality training, and long-term planning for quality. The research was carried out over four visits to Japan between 1989 and 1992. Emphasizes that there are still quality lessons to be learned from Japan.
Describes the origins and development of TQM programmes in seven fast-moving consumer goods organizations in the UK and reports on the results of a comparative study identifying methods and techniques used, and the impact of change on performance; eschews the survey approach and relies on single site interviews of people at all levels. Finds in each case that the motivation for embarking on TQM was the arrival of a single individual in a particular post and that, while all had used consultants, their approach was company specific. Presents the results in qualitative terms spiced with verbatim comments and identifies impressive gains both in productivity and morale, as well as quality.
There has been a growing call from within the operations management (OM) academic community for research of more managerial relevance. This has implied a greater emphasis on empirical research: surveys, cases, and action research. But in fact these types are quite different. However, the great majority of empirical OM work published is based on postal surveys and/or interviewing executives, where research method selection is made for reasons of practical convenience and academic expectation. Given the level of complexity involved in understanding the OM perspective of business issues then the emphasis should be placed on plant-based research. Conducting research on-site and investigation through the analysis of relevant data, issues, developments and events ensures relevance and a validity essential to making an impact on business practice. There are obstacles to increasing the amount of plant-based research which is carried out, such as practical and personal difficulties, a mistaken concern over research rigour, and academic institutional inertia. Each of these needs to be overcome if OM research is to influence business practice more in the future than it has in the past.
This article examines the introduction of centralized processing. It looks at the multiple objectives underlying the initiative and how these were managed in implementation. Drawing on empirical data gathered at three similar sites a comparative analysis of the outcomes of centralization is presented and the variances are explained.
Although goal setting is a common organizational practice, studies concerning goal setting have almost exclusively been carried out in experimental settings. It may therefore be erroneous to assume that the relationships found to exist in controlled settings will hold true within organizations. Goal difficulty and participation in the goal setting process were examined as they related to goal performance. Participants were 132 scientists and professional staff, and 27 of their supervisors. The positive linear relationship between goal difficulty and performance typically found in controlled settings was not replicated. Consistent with some previous studies, a modest but significant relationship between participation and performance was found. The results of this research have implications for practitioners, researchers conducting goal setting studies within applied settings, and for goal setting theory in general.