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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Toke Bjerregaard, Mai S. Linneberg and Jakob Lauring

The purpose of this paper is to further the understanding of how the transfer and adoption of headquarters (HQ)-mandated work practices are shaped by ongoing struggles…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to further the understanding of how the transfer and adoption of headquarters (HQ)-mandated work practices are shaped by ongoing struggles among the multiple actors of a subsidiary. This paper suggests an alternative perspective for theorizing and researching the management practices and structures that emerge in the face of HQ demands for divergent practice change in subsidiaries, namely, a theory of practice approach.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports the findings of an ethnographic field study in a UK subsidiary of a multinational corporation based in Denmark.

Findings

The study provides a relevant contribution by demonstrating how the degree of adoption of alternative, HQ-mandated work systems undergoes dramatic changes over time due to socially dynamic negotiations and struggles between interest groups in a subsidiary.

Research limitations/implications

A practice theoretical approach unveils the underlying social micro-dynamics that shape the degree to which employees in subsidiaries “internalize”, actively sustain or disrupt divergent practices representing a given contextual rationale.

Originality/value

The practice perspective provides a way for understanding how the practices and rationales that emerge locally in response to HQ-demands are under ongoing (re)reconstruction. It responds to calls for research on why and how contextual rationales, institutional or cultural features, actively are made salient, polarized or convergent, in conflictual practice transfer processes due to local contingencies.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

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Book part
Publication date: 9 November 2017

Sizwe Timothy Phakathi

This chapter examines the interaction between formal and informal organisation of work in a deep-level mining workplace. In response to organisational constraints…

Abstract

This chapter examines the interaction between formal and informal organisation of work in a deep-level mining workplace. In response to organisational constraints, underground mining teams make a plan (planisa) to offset production bottlenecks which affected the daily running of the production process at the rock-face down the mine. They ‘get on and get by’ inside the pit to cope with organisational dysfunctions and management inefficiencies. The chapter highlights the limits of formalised work methods and the significance of the frontline miners’ informal work practice of making a plan (planisa) as an existing and alternative working practice that shapes their subjective orientation, agency and resilience to deep-level mining work processes and managerial initiatives. While the informal work practice of planisa has pros and cons, any managerial strategy designed to improve organisational productivity, safety and teamwork must recognise and systematically articulate the frontline miners’ work culture of planisa. This is especially important if we are to fully understand the limits of contemporary organisational strategies and workers’ orientations towards modernised work processes and managerial practices.

Details

Production, Safety and Teamwork in a Deep-Level Mining Workplace
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-564-1

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Book part
Publication date: 29 May 2018

Hannah Leyerzapf, Tineke Abma, Petra Verdonk and Halleh Ghorashi

Purpose – In this chapter, we explore how normalization of exclusionary practices and of privilege for seemingly same professionals and disadvantage for seemingly…

Abstract

Purpose – In this chapter, we explore how normalization of exclusionary practices and of privilege for seemingly same professionals and disadvantage for seemingly different professionals in academic healthcare organizations can be challenged via meaningful culturalization in the interference zone between system and life world, subsequently developing space for belonging and difference.

Methodology – This nested case study focusses on professionals’ narratives from one specific setting (team) within the broader research and research field of the Dutch academic hospital (Abma & Stake, 2014). We followed a responsive design, conducting interviews with cultural minority and majority professionals and recording participant observations.

Findings – In the Netherlands, the instrumental, system-inspired business model of diversity is reflected in two discourses in academic hospitals: first, an ideology of equality as sameness, and second, professionalism as neutral, rational, impersonal and decontextual. Due to these discourses, cultural minority professionals can be identified as ‘different’ and evaluated as less professional than cultural majority, or seemingly ‘same’, professionals. Furthermore, life world values of trust and connectedness, and professionals’ emotions and social contexts are devalued, and professionals’ desire to belong comes under pressure.

Value – Diversity management from a system-based logic can never be successful. Instead, system norms of productivity and efficiency need to be reconnected to life world values of connectivity, personal recognition, embodied knowledge and taking time to reflect. Working towards alternative safe spaces that generate transformative meaningful culturalization and may enable structural inclusion of minority professionals further entails critical reflexivity on power dynamics and sameness–difference hierarchy in the academic hospital.

Details

Contested Belonging: Spaces, Practices, Biographies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-206-2

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2013

Sizwe Timothy Phakathi

This paper aims to examine the interaction between formal and informal organisation of work inside the pit, with reference to the informal working or coping strategy of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the interaction between formal and informal organisation of work inside the pit, with reference to the informal working or coping strategy of “making a plan” (planisa).

Design/methodology/approach

The research for this paper was ethnographic in nature and the participant observation was the main research technique used in the field.

Findings

The underground gold miners make a plan or engage in planisa to offset the production bottlenecks which affected their capacity to achieve their production targets and increase their bonus earnings. They “get on and get by” underground in order to cope with organisational constraints and management inefficiencies.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the limits of formal organisation of work and the significance of gold miners’ informal work strategy of making a plan (planisa) as an existing and alternative working practice that shapes their subjective orientation, agency and resilience to work structures and managerial strategies. Any strategy designed to improve the health, safety and productivity of underground miners must recognise, elaborate and systematically articulate the workplace culture of planisa as an existing work practice in the day‐to‐day running of the production process down the mine.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Book part
Publication date: 24 March 2021

Stéphane Jaumier and Thibault Daudigeos

Past research on collectivist-democratic organizations has attributed their distinctiveness to their socio-political goals and democratic decision-making and largely…

Abstract

Past research on collectivist-democratic organizations has attributed their distinctiveness to their socio-political goals and democratic decision-making and largely ignored their work processes. This ethnographic study examines how such organizations resist alienating forms of work even in the face of direct competition with for-profit companies. It focuses on Scopix, a French cooperative sheet-metal factory where the first author spent one year as a shop-floor worker. Cooperators there developed various practices to retain an emancipatory dimension to their work, regularly putting forward “craft ethics” as a counterweight to the sheet-metal industry’s drive to rationalize work processes. Drawing on the sociology of worth, the authors analyze how these practices emerged from the arrangements that workers made between the industrial world on the one side and the domestic and inspired worlds on the other. This study contributes to the literature into two main ways. First, the authors refine the sociology-of-worth framework by conceptualizing the emancipatory dimension of work as the result of ad hoc arrangements between different worlds. Second, the authors highlight the need for the literature on collectivist-democratic organizations to increase its focus on work, introducing the concept of work degeneration as a step in that direction.

Details

Organizational Imaginaries: Tempering Capitalism and Tending to Communities through Cooperatives and Collectivist Democracy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-989-7

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2006

Gun Abrahamsson and Jonas Gerdin

Based on an institutional perspective, this study explores the role of management accounting (MA) in promoting or impeding changes in the employees' conceptions of…

Abstract

Purpose

Based on an institutional perspective, this study explores the role of management accounting (MA) in promoting or impeding changes in the employees' conceptions of shopfloor worker responsibility in a company trying to implement a continuous improvement (CI) working practice.

Design/methodology/approach

An ethnographically inspired research method is needed where weekly CI meetings in two workgroups were observed over a period of eight months and in‐depth interviews with managers and operators were conducted regularly.

Findings

The study reveals that active and skilful exploiters of inconsistencies within social arrangements may use MA as one important way of transforming a traditional vertical view of worker responsibility into a more horizontally‐oriented view by: creating collective reflection and reasoned analysis of the limits of the present order, and visualising and justifying an alternative model(s) of social behaviour. However, the study also shows that MA may contribute to the reinforcement of a vertical view by the use of group‐level measures strictly as a one‐way performance monitoring device.

Originality/value

The study highlights that “contradictions” between social orders may not only nurture institutional stability, but may also be a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for institutional change.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2020

Teppo Eskelinen and Juhana Venäläinen

This paper explores economic moralities in self-organised alternative economies and argues that the diverse economies approach is particularly useful in elaborating the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores economic moralities in self-organised alternative economies and argues that the diverse economies approach is particularly useful in elaborating the self-understandings of such economic communities. The analysis focuses on two types of alternative economies in Finland: ridesharing and timebanking.

Design/methodology/approach

Through qualitative data, the paper looks into moments of negotiation where economic moralities of self-organised alternative economies are explicitly debated. The main research data consists of social media conversations, supplemented by a member survey for the participants of the studied timebank. The data are analysed through theory-guided qualitative content analysis.

Findings

The analysis shows that the moments of negotiation within alternative economies should not be understood as simple collisions of mutually exclusive ideas, but rather as complex processes of balancing between overlapping and partly incommensurable economic moralities. While self-organised alternative economies might appear as functionally uniform at the level of their everyday operations, they still provide considerable leeway for different conceptions of the underlying normative commitments.

Originality/value

To date, there is little qualitative research on how the participants of self-organised alternative economies reflect the purpose and ethics of these practices. This study contributes to the body of diverse economies research by analysing novel case studies in the Finnish context. Through empirical analysis, this paper also provides a theoretical framework of how the different economic moralities in self-organised alternative economies can be mapped.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 41 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 27 February 2009

Ian Straker, Stephen Ison, Ian Humphreys and Graham Francis

The purpose of this paper is to explore the process benefits and findings of a functional benchmarking exercise. It explores the issues surrounding the potential…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the process benefits and findings of a functional benchmarking exercise. It explores the issues surrounding the potential introduction of a direct employee car parking financial incentive or disincentive measure at an airport, drawing on best practice from specific non‐airport organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach is taken in which three different organisations are considered from a functional benchmarking perspective.

Findings

There are direct findings in terms of how to develop employee parking strategies/policies.

Research limitations/implications

This paper adds to the practical literature on functional benchmarking by presenting evidence from a benchmarking exercise of three case study organisations.

Practical implications

There are practical findings in terms of the potential benefits and limitations from a functional benchmarking exercise. There are also practical recommendations in terms of organisations seeking to develop and implement staff car parking strategies.

Originality/value

The paper provides an illustration of functional benchmarking in practice.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2007

Anthea Zacharatos, M. Sandy Hershcovis, Nick Turner and Julian Barling

This article aims to provide a quantitative review of the range and effects of human resource management (HRM) practices in the North American automotive industry.

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to provide a quantitative review of the range and effects of human resource management (HRM) practices in the North American automotive industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 14 studies provided data for an employee‐level meta‐analysis of the relationships comprising high performance work systems in the automotive manufacturing sector. As an extension of research in this context, we hypothesized that three clusters of organizational practices (work systems, HR policies, and leadership) would be associated with two clusters of employee‐level psychosocial outcomes (person‐focused, organizational‐focused) which, in turn, would be related to employee performance.

Findings

It was found that work systems and HR policies related to both person‐focused (comprising individual job satisfaction, health, self‐esteem, and social support) and organization‐focused (comprising organizational commitment and perceptions of organizational justice) outcomes. The leadership cluster had a strong association with the person‐focused outcomes. Organizational – but not personal‐focused outcomes were associated with employee performance comprising employee effectiveness, self‐ratings of performance, turnover, and absenteeism.

Research limitations/implications

The results from this study provide support for the role of employee‐level psychosocial outcomes as mechanisms between HRM practices and employee performance, supporting an idea that is often discussed but rarely tested in the literature. These results need to tempered by the fact that this meta‐analysis was based on a relatively small number of studies in one industrial sector, thereby limiting the generalizability of the model.

Practical implications

These data suggest that managing with a high‐involvement orientation is associated with positive consequences for individuals and organizations within the automotive industry. The paper is not espousing the view that technologically‐focused systems are of little value in manufacturing industries, but rather that taking a more humanistic approach to how they are implemented may benefit all parties involved.

Originality/value

This paper provides an empirical review of HRM practices and outcomes in the automotive manufacturing context. The role of leadership in these systems is highlighted. The results offer guidance to researchers and practitioners interested in researching and managing the human side of automobile manufacturing.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 36 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 March 2016

Tony Wall

The purpose of this paper is to examine how deeper psychosocial structures can be examined utilising a contemporary provocative theory within workplace reflection to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how deeper psychosocial structures can be examined utilising a contemporary provocative theory within workplace reflection to generate more radical insights and innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper outlines a provocative theory and then presents case examples of how deeper structures can be examined at the micro, meso and macro levels.

Findings

Deeper psychosocial structures are the forces that keep the status quo firmly in place, but deeper examination of these structures enable radical insights and therefore the possibility of innovation.

Research limitations/implications

Deep psychosocial structures shape and constitute daily action, and so work-based and practitioner researchers can be tricked into thinking they have identified new ways of working, but may be demonstrating the same workplace behaviours/outcomes. Workplace behaviours, including emotional responses to apparent change, are key indicators of deeper structures.

Practical implications

Ideas and processes for examining deeper structures can be integrated into daily reflective practices by individuals, within organisational processes, and wider, system processes. However, because deeper structures can appear in different forms, we can be tricked into reproducing old structures.

Social implications

Examining deeper structures increases the possibilities for more radical insights into workplace structures, and therefore, how to potentially mobilise innovations which may better serve people and planet.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to examine the work of Slavoj Žižek in the context of work-based learning.

Details

Journal of Work-Applied Management, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2205-2062

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