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Article
Publication date: 20 February 2021

Marc Janka

This study aims to synthesize qualitative research in the accounting and management literature that builds on the concept of enabling formalization. The framework for the…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to synthesize qualitative research in the accounting and management literature that builds on the concept of enabling formalization. The framework for the meta-synthesis integrates formal management control system (MCS) design applying the package typology and two modes of MCS use, namely, diagnostic and interactive.

Design/methodology/approach

The meta-synthesis is based on 34 case studies gathered by a systematic literature search. Qualitative research mining software (Leximancer) was used to facilitate an initial analysis, upon which an in-depth manual analysis was conducted.

Findings

The findings indicate that the generic features of enabling formalization – specifically, flexibility and repair – help employees better deal with inevitable contingencies in their daily work through continuous self-improvement. In many circumstances, there is a need to change common organizational practices, which sometimes requires realignment to direct employee behavior toward goal congruence. The (temporary) coercion of employees does not seem to cause dysfunctional behavior or resistance as long as the broader MCS package follows the design features of enabling formalization – specifically, transparency. The interactive use of personnel/cultural controls appears to play a crucial role within the whole MCS package in balancing tensions between coercion and enabling formalization.

Originality/value

This study adds to the understanding of formal MCS design characteristics perceived by managers and employees as enabling. Furthermore, it shows how managers of these organizations use formal MCS under enabling formalization.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

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Article
Publication date: 19 January 2021

Nils M. Høgevold, Gøran Svensson and Mercy Mpinganjira

Seen from the seller's point of view, this study examines economic and non-economic satisfaction as distinct conceptual variables, and tests how the constructs relate to…

Abstract

Purpose

Seen from the seller's point of view, this study examines economic and non-economic satisfaction as distinct conceptual variables, and tests how the constructs relate to each other and to the business transactional cost variables of formalisation, specific investments and dependence.

Design/methodology/approach

Data was collected from 213 key informants from Norwegian companies involved in business-to-business marketing. Structural equation modelling was used to test the posited hypotheses.

Findings

The findings show that sellers' economic satisfaction exerts a positive influence on non-economic satisfaction and on formalisation, while its posited influence on specific investments was not found to be significant. Formalisation was, however, not significantly influenced by seller non-economic satisfaction. Specific investment was positively influenced by seller non-economic satisfaction. The influence of formalisation on specific investments and dependence was significant. Specific investments were also found to be positively influenced by dependence.

Research limitations/implications

The study reveals the importance of assessing both economic and non-economic satisfaction in trying to understand sellers' behaviour in business-to-business markets.

Practical implications

The findings show the need for managers to ensure economic satisfaction, as its affects non-economic satisfaction.

Originality/value

This study contributes to a better understanding of satisfaction in business-to-business exchange relationships and its relationship with transactional cost constructs based on a seller's perspective.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 51 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2020

Martin Spraggon and Virginia Bodolica

To date, it remains unclear whether the experiences of large corporations with regard to knowledge transfer and process formalization can be successfully replicated in…

Abstract

Purpose

To date, it remains unclear whether the experiences of large corporations with regard to knowledge transfer and process formalization can be successfully replicated in small companies. In this paper, the authors seek to contribute to the specialized literature on internal knowledge transfer processes and their degree of formalization in the context of small-sized innovative firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopt a multiple case study approach to perform an in-depth comparative analysis of processes deployed to transfer knowledge internally and their degree of formalization, relying on rich narratives shared by informants during the data gathering stage. This sample is composed of five small innovators operating in the software industry in Quebec and Ontario.

Findings

The authors identify seven knowledge transfer processes in our sample, namely communities of practice, within project teams, across project teams, non-project related meetings, in-house exchanges with clients, technological devices, and playful activities. Uncovering a high cross-case variation in terms of process formalization, the findings imply that the degree of formalization of intra-firm knowledge transfer processes has no direct bearing on the innovative success of small software companies.

Originality/value

The study sheds new light on the topic of heterogeneity of small organizations from the perspective of knowledge transfer endeavors and provides empirical evidence in support of equifinality for a subset of small-sized innovators from the software sector.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 59 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Simone Guercini and Annalisa Tunisini

The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of “formalization” in business networks as an instrument of industrial policy. Formalization in business networks is not…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of “formalization” in business networks as an instrument of industrial policy. Formalization in business networks is not a debated topic but it can affect organizational and inter-organizational dynamics considerably. The aim of the paper is to understand if the introduction of a normative tool that enhances formalized networks can be effective to promote network aggregations among SMEs. Second, the aim is to understand if this formalization supports good-working networks, i.e., capable to introduce new products or to enter new markets/customers.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper refers to a review of the literature and mainly to an empirical research on formalized network contracts (NCs) that have been conducted in the latest two years. This research has used both secondary data, collected accessing to databases and reports given by institutions and the government, and primary data, collected in specific direct interviews. These interviews have been concerned both institutions such as Chamber of Commerce, Confindustria and the Ministry of Economic Development and the Small Business Association, and 15 cases of NCs in Italy.

Findings

The formalization has consequences both internally and externally to the NC. Internally it can act as an element to reduce ambiguity and building elements of “fragile trust,” in the absence of basic elements of “resilient trust” and in the presence of changes in the competitive environment. Externally, the formalization through the NC allows the policy maker to identify more clearly companies’ aggregations in order to let them being destination of specific industrial policies. However even if the formalization has in some cases enhanced new networks’ creation, in many cases formalization has generated positive results when companies had already experienced networking outside the frame of the NC.

Research limitations/implications

Further research on formalization in networks should be developed following the “history” of formalized networks over time in order to understand how much formalization should be used as a long-term tool for industrial policy.

Practical implications

The paper can be useful both for companies that want to sign a NC and for the institutions developing industrial policies devoted to support companies’ aggregations in the form of NC.

Originality/value

The paper presents a new legal tool – the “NC” – introduced in 2009 by the Italian Government to enhance firms’ aggregation; second, the paper debates the topic of formalization in networks that is not much debated in literature; and finally, the paper also adopts an industrial economic approach and is among the few attempts to integrate industrial policies and industrial marketing and purchasing thinking.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2007

Gavriel Meirovich, Yael Brender‐Ilan and Alexander Meirovich

To investigate the relationship between two structural dimensions (formalization and decentralization) and two quality dimensions (design and conformance).

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the relationship between two structural dimensions (formalization and decentralization) and two quality dimensions (design and conformance).

Design/methodology/approach

A total sample of 758 staff members and patients in five hospitals completed a questionnaire composed of four scales designed to measure the main variables in our study. Correlation and regression analysis were used to measure and confirm the study's hypotheses.

Findings

It was found that higher levels of decentralization are related to higher levels of design quality while higher levels of formalization are related to higher levels of conformance quality.

Practical implications

The results suggest that hospital managers need to skillfully handle the structural conflict between decentralization and formalization, and use both dimensions simultaneously to improve hospital performance and patients' service quality.

Originality/value

Previous studies are advanced by clarifying the impact of structural variables on total quality. A positive relationship between decentralization and design quality; and between formalization and conformance quality is empirically confirmed. The study points out the necessity of simultaneously achieving high levels of both formalization and decentralization in order to improve hospital performance in general and both components of total quality in particular.

Details

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0952-6862

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Article
Publication date: 21 October 2013

Kwasi Gyau Baffour Awuah, Felix Nikoi Hammond and Jessica Elizabeth Lamond

The purpose of this paper is to assess cost of land title formalisation in Ghana from the standpoint of individual land/property owners with the view to suggesting a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess cost of land title formalisation in Ghana from the standpoint of individual land/property owners with the view to suggesting a cost-effective means for title formalisation in the country.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a quantitative research approach with mainly questionnaire instruments to obtain data from real estate valuers, land agents and lawyers in Accra, Ghana's capital city.

Findings

Consistent with the literature, the paper found that title formalisation cost is high with extensive time lag. A substantial portion of the cost emanates from commuting cost for follow-ups to expedite action on title formalisation activities, cost of time lag and unofficial and professional fees for facilitation of title formalisation activities.

Practical implications

For land title formalisation to contribute to socio-economic development of Ghana and other developing countries, there is a need for effective and efficient land title formalisation regime to reduce excessive time lag and monetary cost for title formalisation.

Originality/value

Few studies have examined the extent of title formalisation cost in sub-Saharan Africa. Most of these studies tend to overlook several indirect costs and give misleading cost reportage or focus on social cost. The study analyses land title formalisation cost from individual land/property owners’ standpoint. The paper incorporates indirect costs and gives an idea as to the cost trend. Being first of its kind, the study presents a new dimension to the assessment of land title formalisation cost in Ghana for policy formulation and practice.

Details

Property Management, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-7472

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2019

Carrie Anne Belsito and Christopher Ray Reutzel

This study aims to examine the influence of employee performance appraisal (PA) formalization on changes to one component of the employee–leadership social exchange…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the influence of employee performance appraisal (PA) formalization on changes to one component of the employee–leadership social exchange relationship within the context of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Specifically, it builds upon extant research on human resource management within SMEs, performance appraisals and social exchange theory to consider the role of performance appraisal formalization in effecting change in the level of trust employees have in their leaders.

Design/methodology/approach

To test study hypotheses, this study analyzes responses to two survey waves completed by employees of a US-based SME operating within the commercial construction industry. This SME formalized the PA process in between the administration of the first and second surveys. Study data were analyzed using hierarchical ordinary least squares regression.

Findings

The results of this study suggest that the formalization of PA has a positive effect on change in trust in leadership (TIL). Study results also suggest that employee perceptions of PA utility, procedural justice and satisfaction with the PA process are positively related to changes in TIL. This study also found that the effects of employee perceptions of PA utility and procedural justice on changes in TIL are mediated by employee satisfaction with the PA process.

Research limitations/implications

As a consequence of study design, the results found in this study may be limited with respect to their external validity. Researchers and practitioners are encouraged to use caution before generalizing study findings to other contexts.

Practical implications

This study suggests that PA formalization represents a means of increasing employee trust. Moreover, study results suggest that SME leaders hoping to increase employee TIL should be thoughtful about how they implement the PA process, paying particular attention to the usefulness of the feedback they provide and ensuring that the process of PA is viewed as being fair by employees. In doing so, SME leaders will enhance their employees’ satisfaction with the PA process, thereby increasing the trust they place in SME leadership.

Originality/value

This study extends research by considering the consequences of PA formalization with respect to changes in SME employee TIL. In doing so, this study heeds calls for additional research on the consequences of PA within SMEs, as well as sheds light on how PA formalization shapes the relationship between SME employees and leaders.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 18 December 2018

Tiina Tuominen and Miia Martinsuo

The purpose of this paper is to identify and explain how different kinds of knowledge-intensive business service processes (KIBS processes) can be formalised without…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and explain how different kinds of knowledge-intensive business service processes (KIBS processes) can be formalised without excessively limiting employees’ agency, and thus flexibility in value creation. Previous research acknowledges the need to balance flexibility and formalisation but does not investigate how employees achieve this balance in various types of KIBS processes.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper employs a qualitative multiple-case study approach to compare employees’ agency in six successful formalisation projects targeting different types of KIBS processes in three firms. Through a systematic mapping of employees’ agency across the cases, this study reveals alternative patterns of formalisation that enable agency.

Findings

The findings reveal notable differences in employees’ agency in the studied cases. When KIBS processes were scale intensive and/or the culture-favoured conformity, formalisation projects were centrally organised, and employees obeyed codified process templates, even though some agency remained. When KIBS processes were smaller scale and/or the culture-favoured freedom, employees conducted formalisation projects autonomously and retained higher levels of agency in formalised KIBS processes.

Practical implications

Firms and business units providing KIBS should choose their formalisation approaches locally based on the scalability of the KIBS process, their employees’ skill levels, knowledge bases and culture. Choosing the right approach enables flexibility while striving for efficient processes.

Originality/value

Previous studies suggest that formalisation benefits only some KIBS, but this comparative approach shows that a variety of KIBS processes benefit from formalisation if the formalisation approach is tailored to the context. Alternative patterns of formalisation are revealed to guide further empirical research on the topic.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2011

Nava Subramaniam, Paul Collier, Michelle Phang and Gary Burke

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relations between perceived business uncertainty (PBU), use of external risk management (RM) consultants, formalisation of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relations between perceived business uncertainty (PBU), use of external risk management (RM) consultants, formalisation of RM, magnitude of RM methods and perceived organisational outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on a questionnaire survey of members of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in the UK. Using AMOS 17.0, the paper tests the strength of the direct and indirect effects among the variables and explores the fit of the overall path model.

Findings

The results indicate significant and positive associations exist between the extent of PBU and the level of RM formalisation, as well as between the level of RM formalisation and the magnitude of RM methods adopted. The use of external RM consultants is also found to have a significant and positive impact on the magnitude of RM methods adopted. Finally, both the extent of RM formalisation and the magnitude of RM methods adopted are seen to be significantly associated with overall improvement in organisational outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

The study uses perceptual measures of the level of business uncertainty, usage of RM and organisational outcomes. Further, the respondents are members of a management accounting professional body and the views of other managers, such as risk managers, who are also important to the governance process are not incorporated.

Originality/value

This study provides empirical evidence on the impact of RM design and usage on improvements in organisational outcomes. It contributes to the RM literature where empirical research is needed in order to be comparable with the traditional management control system literature.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

Wynand E.J. Bodewes

The many studies into the relationships between formalization and innovation have produced little but inconsistent findings. The conceptual and operational definition of…

Abstract

The many studies into the relationships between formalization and innovation have produced little but inconsistent findings. The conceptual and operational definition of the formalization construct is proposed to be one of the reasons for these inconsistencies. It is argued that aggregate (organization‐level) measurements of formalization are inappropriate and should be replaced with department‐specific or process‐specific measurements. Second, it is argued that formalization has been defined in an inconsistent way. However, it is not just the coexistence of different definitions (and their measurements) that is problematic. The exclusion, or improper inclusion, of rule observation from the conceptualization of formalization appears to be a third fallacy. A revised definition of formalization is advanced as a solution to these problems. This definition may prove to be instrumental in determining the true effect of formalization on organizational innovation.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

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