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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2021

Ambra Galeazzo, Andrea Furlan and Andrea Vinelli

Drawing on the theoretical concept of organisational fit, this paper questions the relevance of employees' participation in the link between continuous improvement (CI…

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2153

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on the theoretical concept of organisational fit, this paper questions the relevance of employees' participation in the link between continuous improvement (CI) and operational performance. The literature has long emphasised that to be successful, CI implementation needs to rely on employees' involvement as soon as its inception. This paper argues that this approach is not generalisable.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a database of 330 firms across 15 countries, regression analyses were used to hypothesise that the fit between CI and employee participation is positively associated with operational performance, and that the fit between CI and centralisation of authority is negatively associated with operational performance. The authors also ran a robustness check with polynomial regression analyses and the response surface methodology.

Findings

CI–employee participation fit is positively associated with operational performance, suggesting that there is less need for employees to be involved when a firm has scarcely developed CI. Employee participation becomes gradually more relevant as CI progresses. Moreover, the results demonstrate that the CI–centralisation of authority fit is negatively associated with operational performance, suggesting that a top-down management approach with centralised authority is preferable when CI is low, whereas a bottom-up management approach is helpful when a firm has extensively developed CI.

Originality/value

This research draws on the concept of organisational fit to explore the relationships between internal practices in the operations management literature. The authors suggest that managers should dynamically balance the practices of employee participation and centralisation of authority as CI improves. This study highlights that CI has different evolutionary levels that require different managerial approaches and practices.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 41 no. 13
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Ambra Galeazzo and Andrea Furlan

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether there are different configurations of lean bundles leading to successful (bad) financial performance and to explore how the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether there are different configurations of lean bundles leading to successful (bad) financial performance and to explore how the complementarities and substitutions between lean bundles shape these configurations.

Design/methodology/approach

A fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) was performed on 19 manufacturing firms. Data on financial performance (return-on-asset and growth rate) were retrieved from the AIDA database and data on the lean bundles of just-in-time, total quality management, total preventive maintenance and human resource management were collected via surveys conducted in all the plants belonging to the sampled firms.

Findings

None of the lean bundles is able to explain alone the firm’s successful financial performance. Lean bundles always have to be complemented by other lean bundles. There are different, equifinal configurations of lean bundles leading to successful (bad) financial performance. Configurations characterized by low implementation of lean bundles are related to bad financial performance.

Practical implications

By finding different configurations of lean bundles associated with successful and bad financial performance, this study informs operations managers on the most effective investments concerning the implementation of lean manufacturing.

Originality/value

This study extends literature on complementarities in lean manufacturing literature. It also bridges together apparently contradictory research on the relationship between lean manufacturing and financial performance. Finally, the study demonstrates that lean bundles have different roles in reaching successful and bad financial performance.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 26 June 2019

Ambra Galeazzo and Andrea Furlan

Organizational learning relies on problem-solving as a way to generate new knowledge. Good problem solvers should adopt a problem-solving orientation (PSO) that analyzes…

Abstract

Purpose

Organizational learning relies on problem-solving as a way to generate new knowledge. Good problem solvers should adopt a problem-solving orientation (PSO) that analyzes the causes of problems to arrive at an effective solution. The purpose of this paper is to investigate this relevant, though underexplored, topic by examining two important antecedents of PSO: knowledge sharing mechanisms and transformational leaders’ support.

Design/methodology/approach

Hierarchical linear modeling analyses were performed on a sample of 131 workers in 12 plants. A questionnaire was designed to collect data from shop-floor employees. Knowledge sharing was measured using the mechanisms of participative practices and standardized practices. Management support was assessed based on the extent to which supervisors engaged in transformational leadership.

Findings

Knowledge sharing mechanisms are an antecedent of PSO behavior, but management support measured in terms of transformational leadership is not. However, transformational leadership affects the use of knowledge sharing mechanisms that, in turn, is positively related to PSO behavior.

Practical implications

The research provides practical guidance for practitioners to understand how to manage knowledge in the workplace to promote employees’ PSO behaviors.

Originality/value

Though problem-solving activities are intrinsic in any working context, PSO is still very much underrepresented and scarcely understood in knowledge management studies. This study fills this gap by investigating the antecedents of PSO behavior.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 4 February 2020

Matin Mohaghegh and Andrea Furlan

This study aims at determining the factors that favor a systematic approach to deal with complex operational and strategic problems. Management literature on…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims at determining the factors that favor a systematic approach to deal with complex operational and strategic problems. Management literature on problem-solving makes a clear distinction between either fixing a problem temporarily by eliminating its symptoms or solving it by diagnosing and altering underlying causes. Adopting a cognitive perspective of the dual-processing theory, this study labels these two approaches intuitive problem-solving and systematic problem-solving (SPS). While the superior effectiveness of SPS in fostering organizational learning is widely documented, existing literature fails to provide an overview of the conditions that support the adoption of SPS.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a systematic literature review to shed light on the main supporting factors of SPS in operational as well as strategic domains.

Findings

Seven supporting factors of SPS (namely, nature of the problem, time availability, information availability, collaborative culture, transformational leadership, organizational learning infrastructure and environmental dynamism) are first identified and then discussed in an integrative model.

Originality/value

This work is an original attempt to inclusively address organizational, environmental and problem nature-related factors that favor SPS adoption. By determining the SPS supporting factors, this study highlights why many organizations fail or struggle to implement and sustain SPS over time.

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Article
Publication date: 19 July 2011

Andrea Furlan, Andrea Vinelli and Giorgia Dal Pont

The paper aims to test and validate the complementarity effects on operational performance of two of the main lean manufacturing bundles, just‐in‐time (JIT) and total…

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4434

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to test and validate the complementarity effects on operational performance of two of the main lean manufacturing bundles, just‐in‐time (JIT) and total quality management (TQM). The paper also explores the role played by the human resource management (HRM) bundle as an enhancer of the complementarity between JIT and TQM.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on statistical analysis on the high performance manufacturing round III database, a survey that involves 266 plants in nine countries across three different industries (electronics, machinery and transportation components).

Findings

The paper proves the existence of complementarity between JIT and TQM and shows the enabling role of HRM on such complementarity.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides analytical and empirical argumentations showing that JIT and TQM mutually reinforce each other's marginal returns on operational performance. The study also indicates that only those plants characterized by a significant implementation of HRM practices enjoy the complementarity effects of TQM and JIT on operational performance.

Practical implications

The research suggests a pattern of improvements where JIT and TQM have to be implemented hand‐in‐hand to take full advantage of their complementarity. HRM, the soft part of lean initiatives, provides the ground over which complementarity originates, spreading its benefits throughout the organization.

Originality/value

The study represents one of the few attempts trying to operationalize and empirically validate the concept of complementarity. The study also provides original suggestions to practitioners on how to make the most out of lean initiatives.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 31 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 12 August 2014

Andrea Furlan and Roberto Grandinetti

Literature on spin-offs still lacks a thorough understanding of the forces governing spin-off performance. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap by taking a…

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1154

Abstract

Purpose

Literature on spin-offs still lacks a thorough understanding of the forces governing spin-off performance. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap by taking a network perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper combines the literature on spin-offs with the network approach to new ventures to proposing a model showing how networking in the pre-entry phases affects a spin-off's survival and early growth.

Findings

The intensity and variety of interactions between the future entrepreneur (FE) and other individual actors has a positive impact on spin-off performance in both the incubation and the emergence phases. The degree of overlap between the network of the incubation phase and the network of the emergence phase also reinforces the effects of the intensity and variety of these interactions on performance during the emergence phase. Finally, entrepreneurial innovativeness is an antecedent of spin-off performance in that it requires different degrees of overlap between the network of the incubation phase and the network of the emergence phase.

Research limitations/implications

Being a conceptual paper, the study needs the support of empirical research. For example, samples of spin-offs achieving a high and low performance could be compared in relation to their FE's networking activity.

Originality/value

The paper creates a bridge between the inherited knowledge approach to spin-offs and the network approach to new ventures to provide a framework for explaining spin-off performance.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2014

Andrea Furlan, Roberto Grandinetti and Adriano Paggiaro

Business research and entrepreneurship literature typically examines external resources as input or output of entrepreneurial (or high) growth. The purpose of this paper…

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1557

Abstract

Purpose

Business research and entrepreneurship literature typically examines external resources as input or output of entrepreneurial (or high) growth. The purpose of this paper is to combine these two perspectives in describing and modeling high growth.

Design/methodology/approach

The study tests the hypotheses on a sample of medium-sized, established manufacturing firms using structural equation modeling.

Findings

Results provide original contributions to the business research on firm growth and entrepreneurship. They are consistent with studies advocating the importance of adopting a process perspective when studying business growth to probe the causal mechanisms behind growth.

Research limitations/implications

Being quantitative, this study does not address the dynamic interdependencies between proprietary and hybrid growth. However, the literature on entrepreneurship would benefit from qualitative studies that explore how successful and sustainable growth processes combine the two modes of growth.

Originality/value

Findings partially discard the input and output approach in favor of a vision of entrepreneurial growth as a process that unfolds over time with the development of external relationships. Only the process of collaboration, a core competence of entrepreneurial firms, reduces information asymmetries and agency problems, thus turning the corresponding inter-organizational relationships into formidable feeders of firm growth. Entrepreneurial growth is in fact a process that needs external relationships in order to flourish over time.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2016

Andrea Furlan and Roberto Grandinetti

– The purpose of this paper is to integrate knowledge inheritance theory with the social capital perspective to explain the initial endowments of spinoffs.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to integrate knowledge inheritance theory with the social capital perspective to explain the initial endowments of spinoffs.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors maintain that social capital plays a crucial part, both as a mechanism supporting the generation of intellectual capital prior to a spinoff’s foundation, and as an endowment that complements this capital once the spinoff is founded. Knowledge inheritance remains a fundamental mechanism for the formation of a spinoff’s intellectual capital. Its other endowment, social capital, derives from three types of relationship that future entrepreneurs develop within, through and outside their parent firm, all three of which are crucial to the formation of a spinoff’s intellectual capital.

Findings

The first result of the theoretical research is an integrative framework of a spinoff’s endowments. Moreover, the authors apply this framework to address two key research questions in the spinoff literature, i.e. whether spinoffs can differ from their parents in terms of intellectual capital; and why spinoffs tend to co-locate near their parents, in geographical clusters. The integrative approach helps to tackle these questions.

Originality/value

This conceptual paper offers a more comprehensive explanation of the emergence of spinoffs in terms of their initial endowments than the knowledge inheritance theory.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Andrea Furlan

Studies on spinoffs neglect firms founded by single individuals (i.e. proprietorships) thus overlooking a large portion of new ventures. Moreover, scholars usually do not…

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1398

Abstract

Purpose

Studies on spinoffs neglect firms founded by single individuals (i.e. proprietorships) thus overlooking a large portion of new ventures. Moreover, scholars usually do not consider the effect of the rank, and the amount, of founder’s working experience on spinoff’s survival. The purpose of this paper is to analyze a sample of 3,456 Italian manufacturing proprietorships.

Design/methodology/approach

Out of an initial population of some 6,000 firms, the authors obtained a sample of 3,456 usable records with complete information about new ventures and founders’ background. The authors relied on the class of methods known as “proportional hazard models” to perform survival analyses.

Findings

Analyses show that spinoffs from surviving parents outlive other startups. Surprisingly, spinoffs from high-ranked positions have comparable hazard rates than other startups while spinoffs from low-ranked positions have lower hazard rates than other startups. Finally, industry-specific working experience has a curvilinear inverted U-shape effect on spinoffs’ survival.

Originality/value

The present study contributes to the debate on spinoffs’ survival and bears important ramifications into the relationship between knowledge inheritance and entrepreneurial dynamic capabilities. It is also helpful in informing public policies aimed at encouraging entrepreneurial activities in the form of new proprietorships.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2007

Arnaldo Camuffo, Andrea Furlan, Pietro Romano and Andrea Vinelli

The purpose of this paper is to investigate routes towards supplier and production network internationalisation.

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2671

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate routes towards supplier and production network internationalisation.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple case‐study analysis has been applied to a sample of 11 Italian footwear and apparel companies with headquarters located in the North‐east of Italy. Within and cross‐case analyses illustrate and compare how these firms relocated one or more segments of their supplier and production networks to Romania.

Findings

The findings support theories that view internationalisation as an incremental process of experiential knowledge accumulation. The case studies suggest that firms undertake three different routes towards supplier and production network internationalisation: traditional subcontracting; co‐ordinated subcontracting; and supply system relocation. These routes' typology is grounded on an original model, which is the theoretical contribution of the paper, which elaborates Johanson and Vahlne's framework adding two variables: the nature of the technological knowledge that needs to be transferred to run the foreign operations and the nature of the customer‐supplier (CS) interaction context of the focal firm.

Research limitations/implications

The characteristics of the model proposed set the boundaries of the research approach and suggest new avenues for further research. First, the model rests on the idea that no firm can fully control the dynamics of its international network, since these are an emergent process. Consequently, the study does not provide practitioners with a rigid set of normative indications about what factors to consider when designing international supply networks. Secondly, the model does not consider all the factors that impact on the internationalisation of the supplier and production network. Finally, the model is not evolutionary and does not assess the relationships between the internationalisation process (its timing, speed, etc.) and firms' performance.

Practical implications

The typology can support managers when framing the problem of choosing among different routes of supplier and production network internationalisation. Furthermore, the findings suggest that these decisions are influenced by the nature of the technological knowledge involved and the CS interaction context.

Originality/value

The paper extends the theory of the supply network internationalisation process, proposing a model that captures the variables actually involved in such a process and their dynamic relationships.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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