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Book part
Publication date: 25 April 2013

YoungKi Park and Omar A. El Sawy

This chapter shows how configurational approaches can be a valuable inquiring system for examining and understanding complex messy phenomena in the area of digital…

Abstract

This chapter shows how configurational approaches can be a valuable inquiring system for examining and understanding complex messy phenomena in the area of digital business strategy in turbulent environments such as digital ecodynamics. Digital ecodynamics is defined as the holistic confluence among environmental turbulence, dynamic capabilities, and IT systems – and their fused dynamic interactions unfolding as an ecosystem. With fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) we analyze firm-level field survey data and describe how IT systems, organizational dynamic capability and environmental turbulence simultaneously combine to result in multiple configurations, which have different causal structures to produce competitive firm performance. This equifinality shows how configurational approaches can create new practical insights in digital ecodynamics by suggesting multiple strategic options from which organizations can choose the best solution that fits their context.

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Configurational Theory and Methods in Organizational Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-778-8

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Book part
Publication date: 1 July 2014

Alexandra E. MacDougall, John E. Baur, Milorad M. Novicevic and M. Ronald Buckley

On many occasions, organizational science research has been referred to as fragmented and disjointed, resulting in a literature that is, in the opinion of many, difficult…

Abstract

On many occasions, organizational science research has been referred to as fragmented and disjointed, resulting in a literature that is, in the opinion of many, difficult to navigate and comprehend. One potential explanation is that scholars have failed to comprehend that organizations are complex and intricate systems. In order to move us past this morass, we recommend that researchers extend beyond traditional rational, mechanistic, and variable-centered approaches to research and integrate a more advantageous pattern-oriented approach within their research program. Pattern-oriented methods approximate real-life phenomena by adopting a holistic, integrative approach to research wherein individual- and organizational-systems are viewed as non-decomposable organized wholes. We argue that the pattern-oriented approach has the potential to overcome a number of breakdowns faced by alternate approaches, while offering a novel and more representative lens from which to view organizational- and HRM-related issues. The proposed incorporation of the pattern-oriented approach is framed within a review and evaluation of current approaches to organizational research and is supplemented with a discussion of methodological and theoretical implications as well as potential applications of the pattern-oriented approach.

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Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-824-2

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Book part
Publication date: 25 April 2013

Anna Grandori and Santi Furnari

This chapter reconstructs the roots of configurational analysis in organization theory and organizational economics, focusing on the elements of configurational thinking…

Abstract

This chapter reconstructs the roots of configurational analysis in organization theory and organizational economics, focusing on the elements of configurational thinking that are particularly relevant to organizational design; and outlining some future prospects for a configurational theory of organization design. We detect the presence of configurational ideas in many organization theories and organizational economics approaches. We argue that this, seldom acknowledged, continuity extends and enriches the implications of configurational analysis for organization design. In addition, we define and identify ‘structural heterogeneity’ as an organizational property that can be distinctively studied by configurational analysis, distinguishing between internal heterogeneity – diversity of organizational attributes within one configuration – and external heterogeneity – diversity of organizational configurations under the same environmental conditions. Some of the insights that can be gained through a configurational analysis of structural heterogeneity are illustrated through a fs/QCA study of a multi-industry sample of firms.

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Configurational Theory and Methods in Organizational Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-778-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2007

Vicente Roca‐Puig and Juan Carlos Bou‐Llusar

Miles and Snow’s (1978) model posits that organizational performance is dependent upon the degree of consistency (fit) that managers establish between organizational and…

Abstract

Miles and Snow’s (1978) model posits that organizational performance is dependent upon the degree of consistency (fit) that managers establish between organizational and environmental elements. However, different interpretations of the concept of fit coexist in the literature. We argue that in this model, consistency can be defined as a pattern of “equivalent covariance”, which is operatively created through the use of confirmatory factor analysis. The form of fit as covariance leads to the view of “configuration as quality”, in that the basic subject is the study of the interrelationships among organizational and environmental elements. The concept of fit as covariance is decidedly different from the traditional concept of fit as difference, which regards configuration as a typology or taxonomy. The covariance perspective of configurational theory is underused; for this reason, we apply this analytical perspective to a sample of 229 companies. The empirical results confirm that consistency positively influences organizational performance.

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Management Research: Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1536-5433

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1996

Richard Badham and Paul Couchman

Considers the Smart Manufacturing Techniques project designed to implement team‐based manufacturing cells in participating Australian companies. Draws on case studies of…

Abstract

Considers the Smart Manufacturing Techniques project designed to implement team‐based manufacturing cells in participating Australian companies. Draws on case studies of the three participating groups to explore the nature of socio‐technical implementation processes. Argues that an improved understanding of socio‐technical systems is needed, and that action research is the best method to do that. Concludes by presenting a configuration process model and applies this to show how it can illuminate the implementation of team‐based cells in the three case study companies.

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Integrated Manufacturing Systems, vol. 7 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6061

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2015

Dan Marlin and Scott W Geiger

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the organizational literature and improve the understanding of the slack and performance link by: examining the slack and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the organizational literature and improve the understanding of the slack and performance link by: examining the slack and performance relationship using a configurational approach and by considering equifinality and its possible effects on this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

Using cluster analysis, ANCOVA, and means comparisons this study identifies different configurations of slack and their associated performance implications.

Findings

The results show that configurations with higher levels of slack outperform those with lower levels of slack suggesting a positive relationship between slack and firm performance. The findings also demonstrate that alternative configurations of slack can result in similar levels of performance suggesting the existence of equifinality in this relationship.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to prior research by moving beyond traditional linear and contingency views of slack and considering a configurational approach. An important contribution of this study is that while level of slack may be important it appears that how the various types of slack are bundled also serves as an important factor in firm outcomes and should be examined by future researchers.

Practical implications

The results indicate that managerial attention should be paid to not only identifying appropriate levels and types of slack for the organization but also to appropriate ways to bundle theses resources.

Originality/value

This study provides an important contribution to the literature by determining if certain slack bundles result in higher levels of performance and if there are multiple ways of bundling slack resources that result in similar performance outcomes.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 53 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Dessislava Dikova, Arjen van Witteloostuijn and Simon Parker

Extant work in international business (IB) involves a partial contingency-theoretic perspective: a holistic view of the impact of bundles of contingencies on an outcome…

Abstract

Purpose

Extant work in international business (IB) involves a partial contingency-theoretic perspective: a holistic view of the impact of bundles of contingencies on an outcome variable is missing. The purpose of this paper is to adopt a contingency approach to study multinational enterprise (MNE) subsidiary performance in the appropriate context of European transition economies at the beginning of the current millennium.

Design/methodology/approach

Methodologically, the authors introduce abduction as a line of inquiry into IB and management to develop new theoretical insights, and apply the novel empirical general interaction method to estimate bundle effects. In so doing, the authors contribute to the further development of a theoretical and empirical toolkit to revitalize holistic, or configurational, quantitative research in IB and management.

Findings

The authors find that capability fit is a necessary condition for high MNE subsidiary marketing performance, whilst environment fit is particularly critical for high MNE subsidiary financial performance.

Research limitations/implications

A key limitation is that this is a cross-section study.

Practical implications

This study offers insights as to subsidiary fit into Eastern Europe, indicating fitting entry and establishment modes.

Originality/value

This paper offers a novel holistic approach to IB, both in terms of theoretical and empirical methodology.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

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Article
Publication date: 15 August 2016

Galina Shirokova, Karina Bogatyreva, Tatiana Beliaeva and Sheila Puffer

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and firm performance across different levels of environmental hostility…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and firm performance across different levels of environmental hostility and market growth. The contingency approach of two-way interactions of EO with each environmental variable is contrasted with the configurational approach of three-way interactions of EO simultaneously with different levels of both environmental variables.

Design/methodology/approach

Hierarchical regression analysis is applied for the pooled data set of 163 Finnish and Russian small- and medium-sized enterprises, and supplemented with post hoc analysis of the differences in regression slopes across environmental configurations.

Findings

Results show that EO is directly and positively associated with firm performance. However, the strength and direction of this relationship varies by configurations of the external environment variables. Firms achieve superior performance when adopting EO in environments with high levels of both hostility and market growth. In contrast, in favorable environments with low hostility and high market growth, EO adoption leads to lower firm performance.

Research limitations/implications

The study contributes to the EO literature by demonstrating different effects of EO on firm performance across various environmental configurations. It uses cross-sectional data from two countries. Replication studies using different samples may further corroborate the results.

Practical implications

In order to take advantage of opportunities and achieve better performance, managers of firms should analyze multiple elements of the environment concurrently and align EO to those conditions.

Originality/value

The configurations of environmental hostility and market growth, representing both favorable and unfavorable elements of business context, have not been previously investigated together in one model of the EO-performance relationship.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

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Book part
Publication date: 20 October 2011

Dirk Morschett and Hanna Schramm-Klein

Purpose – Taking a configurational perspective, this study explores if there are different market entry strategies used and if there are ideal configurations of subsidiary…

Abstract

Purpose – Taking a configurational perspective, this study explores if there are different market entry strategies used and if there are ideal configurations of subsidiary strategy in different types of foreign countries.

Methodology – The study is based on a sample of 238 subsidiaries of German companies that are located in 38 different countries. Capturing many different facets of the subsidiary strategy, the configuration of top performers in different environments is identified. With a ‘fit as profile deviation’ approach, it is investigated whether the strategy of the top performers indeed constitutes an ideal strategy.

Findings – The host countries of the subsidiaries can be clustered in four types: BRICs, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the USA. Chosen market entry modes differ significantly between those four host country types. The top performing subsidiaries in each of the country types have distinct strategy patterns. However, deviation from the strategy profile of the top performers only explains the lower performance of subsidiaries in country types BRICs and Eastern Europe. Performance differences between subsidiaries in Western Europe and the USA cannot be explained with the variables captured in this study.

Research limitations/implications – Taking a configurational approach on subsidiary strategy proves to be a promising path to create new insights. But subsidiary strategy pattern alone is insufficient to explain performance in two country types. Thus, other influence factors must be investigated. Furthermore, the study did explore subsidiary strategy patterns with a cluster analysis, without ex ante hypotheses about the patterns. Hence, further studies are needed to re-investigate these patterns.

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Entrepreneurship in the Global Firm
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-115-2

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Book part
Publication date: 31 July 2009

Rodney Lacey and Peer C. Fiss

The contrast of multilevel and comparative research may seem counterintuitive at first. After all, one might argue that comparative research on organizations by necessity…

Abstract

The contrast of multilevel and comparative research may seem counterintuitive at first. After all, one might argue that comparative research on organizations by necessity spans several levels of analysis (Rokkan, 1966). Yet, multilevel and comparative research on organizations present rather distinct traditions in organization studies, each with its own epistemological assumptions and associated methods. Accordingly, an approach that aims to incorporate both multilevel and comparative ideas needs to start with taking inventory of these prior literatures to situate itself. In the following, we thus turn to the literatures on multilevel and comparative research as different traditions with surprisingly little overlap.

Details

Studying Differences between Organizations: Comparative Approaches to Organizational Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-647-8

1 – 10 of over 2000