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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2022

Jos Benders and Torbjörn Stjernberg

This paper aims to document the development of cellular manufacturing at Scania-Vabis, thereby contributing to the history of an organizational idea.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to document the development of cellular manufacturing at Scania-Vabis, thereby contributing to the history of an organizational idea.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on published sources and interviews to reconstruct the development of cellular manufacturing at Scania-Vabis and its traces.

Findings

Cellular manufacturing was applied and further developed at Scania-Vabis in the 1940s and 1950s. Nevertheless, it seems to have fallen into oblivion. The key idea resurfaced in the 1970s.

Practical implications

The authors argue that such “proven technology” should be considered a classical insight in organization design rather than old and thus outdated.

Originality/value

The authors demonstrate that this form of flow-based organizing is much older than commonly assumed and point to barriers in accumulating knowledge on organizing.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 28 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 11 July 2022

Hannelore Schouten, Jos Benders and Stefan Heusinkveld

This study aims to discuss the usefulness of free-text comments to gain insights into participants' opinions about an organizational change project.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to discuss the usefulness of free-text comments to gain insights into participants' opinions about an organizational change project.

Design/methodology/approach

A secondary analysis of 152 free-text answers to an open question in a questionnaire evaluating the implementation of lean facility design was conducted.

Findings

The authors identified three categories of responses to change: (1) dismissive – lean unrelated, (2) dismissive – lean related and (3) supporting – lean related. Notably, the large majority of the comments were dismissive by nature and unrelated to lean. Furthermore, critical responses also emanate from the most supportive group (critical friends).

Practical implications

Quintessential to change management is understanding how those involved perceive the changes. Free-text comments offer an opportunity to gain a view on these perceptions, particularly perceptions that often stay covert whilst having the potential to undermine change initiatives. At the same time, the comments may also be used to capitalize on constructive criticisms.

Originality/value

This study delivers a unique view on how free comments allow developing a broader understanding of hospital staff's responses to an organizational change initiative and particularly its “undercurrent” that may potentially have significant implications to change processes.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 35 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 October 2020

Hannelore Schouten, Stefan Heusinkveld, Wouter van der Kam and Jos Benders

The aim of this study is to document and analyze experiences with building a new hospital guided by lean-led hospital design (LLHD) (Grunden and Hagood, 2012) and to…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to document and analyze experiences with building a new hospital guided by lean-led hospital design (LLHD) (Grunden and Hagood, 2012) and to investigate key mechanisms enhancing healthcare professionals' participation and collaboration in implementing this innovative approach.

Design/methodology/approach

An in-depth case study of the implementation of LLHD in a Dutch hospital was performed based on multiple data sources. The case hospital presented a unique opportunity since there was embedded access to the data by the first author.

Findings

Three mechanisms supporting participation and collaboration of staff for implementing LLHD were identified. (1) Freedom in translating a concept enables managers to balance it with variations in practice at the organizational level. (2) A set of key principles governing the design process appeared an important anchor on a managerial level in a changing environment. (3) Creation of a supportive attitude toward lean and lean facility design, with co-creation as a key element of LLHD.

Practical implications

By using the emerging mechanisms, managers/change agents can enlarge collaboration and participation of hospital staff when implementing organization-wide innovations.

Originality/value

This case study delivers a unique inside view on the dynamics evolving in the complex change processes at organizational, managerial and personal levels involved in implementing LLHD.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 June 2021

Torbjørn Hekneby, Jonas A. Ingvaldsen and Jos Benders

Companies create company-specific production systems (XPS) by tailoring generic concepts to fit their unique situation. However, little is known about how an XPS is…

Abstract

Purpose

Companies create company-specific production systems (XPS) by tailoring generic concepts to fit their unique situation. However, little is known about how an XPS is created. This paper aims to provide insights into the creation of an XPS.

Design/methodology/approach

A retrospective case study was conducted in a Norwegian multinational company over the period 1991–2006, using archival data and interviews.

Findings

The development of the XPS did not start with a master plan. Instead, dispersed existing initiatives were built upon, along with an external search for novel ideas. Widespread experimentation took place, only later to be combined into a coherent approach. Once established, the XPS was disseminated internally and further refined. The CEO orchestrated the experimentation by facilitating the adaptation and combination of different concepts and by allocating resources to institutionalize the XPS in the global network.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to study how an XPS is created. This study contributes with novel empirical insights, and it highlights the role of top management in facilitating experimentation and step-by-step organizational learning.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 May 2020

Jonas A. Ingvaldsen and Jos Benders

This article addresses why movements towards less-hierarchical organizing may be unsustainable within organizations.

Abstract

Purpose

This article addresses why movements towards less-hierarchical organizing may be unsustainable within organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Eschewing hierarchy may prove sustainable if alternative forms of management are acceptable to both employees and managers accountable for those employees’ performance. Developing alternatives means dealing with the fundamentally contradictory functions of coordination and control. Through a qualitative case study of a manufacturing company that removed first-line supervisors, this article analyses how issues of control and coordination were dealt with formally and informally.

Findings

Removal of the formal supervisor was followed by workers’ and middle managers’ efforts to informally reconstruct hierarchical supervision. Their efforts to deal pragmatically with control and coordination were frustrated by formal prescriptions for less hierarchy, leading to contested outcomes. The article identifies upward and downward pressures for the hierarchy’s reconstruction, undermining the sustainability of less-hierarchical organizing.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited by the use of cross-sectional data and employees’ retrospective narratives. Future research on the sustainability of less-hierarchical organizing should preferably be longitudinal to overcome these limitations.

Practical implications

Unless organizational changes towards less hierarchy engage with issues of managerial control and upward accountability, they are likely to induce pressures for hierarchy’s reconstruction.

Originality/value

The article offers an original approach to the classical problem of eschewing hierarchy in organizations. The approach allows us to explore the interrelated challenges facing such restructuring, some of which are currently unacknowledged or underestimated within the literature.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 May 2022

Michiel Bal, Lander Vermeerbergen and Jos Benders

This paper aims to identify why warehouses do or do not succeed in putting to use digital technologies for order picking.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify why warehouses do or do not succeed in putting to use digital technologies for order picking.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on structuration theory, the authors investigate the situated use of one such a digital technology, more particularly the head-worn display (HWD). Based on a most-similar comparative case study of two Belgian warehouses pioneering HWDs, the authors focus on whether and how order pickers and their manager interact to modify the properties, functionalities, and the context in which the HWD is used.

Findings

In one warehouse, using the HWD was discontinued after implementation. In the other, order pickers and the order pickers' manager succeeded in implementing the HWD into their work. The authors find that the prime explanation for these opposite findings lies in the extent to which order pickers were given room to improve the properties and functionalities of the HWD as well as the conditions that unfold in the HWD's use context. In the latter warehouse, pressing issues were overcome and improvement suggestions were implemented, both regarding the HWD itself as well as regarding the job-related and person-related conditions.

Originality/value

Theoretically, the authors contribute to the situated use of technology stating that (1) giving room to alter the use of digital technologies, and (2) fostering continuous employee participation regarding conditions stemming from the use context are necessary to realize the promising and unexploited potential of digital technology in practice. Empirically, this paper exposes distinct types of interactions that explain whether and how digital technologies, in particular HWDs, are put to use for order picking practices.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Lander Vermeerbergen, Geert Van Hootegem and Jos Benders

Decentralisation attempts that aim to increase job autonomy do not always succeed. This paper aims to study to what extent the tendency to maintain existing operational…

Abstract

Purpose

Decentralisation attempts that aim to increase job autonomy do not always succeed. This paper aims to study to what extent the tendency to maintain existing operational task divisions is an important explanation for this lack of success.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 456 employees in 25 organisations participated in a cross-sectional intervention study. Each employee filled out a questionnaire on job autonomy both before and after the decentralisation process, in which all organisations shifted regulatory, preparatory and supportive tasks to the lowest organisational level.

Findings

This study found small, but significant, effects of decentralisation attempts on job autonomy. The size of the effects, however, depended on the way the way in which the operational tasks were divided. Simultaneously, larger effects were found for organisations which decentralised tasks and changed the way operational tasks were divided. Both findings reached the conclusion that although decentralisation attempts seemed important for increasing job autonomy, the way in which the operational tasks were divided and even changed, was at least as important for a successful decentralisation process.

Originality/value

After decades of research on modern sociotechnical theory, this study is the first to show that decentralisation attempts do not merely increase job autonomy. The effect of such attempts depends on the way in which operational tasks are divided in organisations.

Details

Team Performance Management, vol. 22 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 8 April 2014

Jos Benders and Petru L. Curseu and Geert Van Hootegem

1099

Abstract

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2003

Patrick Vermeulen and Jos Benders

Publications in the managerial press tend to stress the positive sides of teamworking. Teamworking is heralded at the neglect of possible downsides such as the propensity…

1884

Abstract

Publications in the managerial press tend to stress the positive sides of teamworking. Teamworking is heralded at the neglect of possible downsides such as the propensity to withhold effort. This is, however, studied in at least two strands of academic work: social psychology and economic organization theories. From these literatures the paper draws attention to the potential downsides of teamworking. However, various options for overcoming these problems have been identified in the same literatures. Thus, the body of our paper explicitly concentrates on possible solutions for managers to remedy the potential negative effects of teamworking.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 9 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 February 2012

Stefan Heusinkveld and Jos Benders

This paper aims to explore how management practitioners make sense of management fashions as sedimented elements within organizations.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how management practitioners make sense of management fashions as sedimented elements within organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

To further understanding about sedimentation in management fashion, an institutional perspective was used.

Findings

This analysis reveals that sedimented fashions within organizations are framed as comprising different forms that are systematically associated with divergent evolution patterns.

Research limitations/implications

This study extends the current literature on management fashion by showing how, unlike present conceptualizations, the long‐term impact of fashionable ideas in organizations cannot be considered a single entity with a uniform pattern of development. Building on this, the paper seeks to develop a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the evolution of popular management ideas in organizational practice, which opens fruitful new research directions.

Practical implications

This paper may help managers, as important consumers of fashionable ideas, to better understand how elements of fashions may remain in organizations and play an important conditional role in future change initiatives.

Originality/value

Despite the substantial attention to the field‐level dissemination and evolution of popular management ideas in the management fashion literature, the possible long‐term impact of these ideas within organizations has received scant attention beyond the assumed transience of a fashion's discourse and the possible persistence of the organizational practices associated with a fashion.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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