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Article

Mark Lehrer and Lydia Segal

The paper explores the nature and facilitating conditions of “stewardship organizations,” that is, organizations in which stewardship behavior rather than principal–agent…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper explores the nature and facilitating conditions of “stewardship organizations,” that is, organizations in which stewardship behavior rather than principal–agent behavior defines the operative principles of management.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper falls into two parts: the first part of the analysis develops a theory of the stewardship organization, and the second part develops a contingency framework concerning the feasibility of stewardship organizations.

Findings

Stewardship organizations are characterized by three interlocking traits: (1) the overall mission of the organization, (2) the organization's internal control systems and (3) the “motivational environment” of the stewardship organization. Since stewardship organizations cannot be identified on the basis of stated mission alone, it is necessary to determine whether the mission involves a higher calling that has been internalized by organizational members to the point of constituting a vital part of how the organization runs on a day-to-day basis.

Practical implications

One key role of leadership in such organizations is to manage mission drift and to reduce the ambiguity of the mission and organization goals.

Social implications

Litmus tests are proposed for identifying an authentic stewardship organization in contradistinction to those whose socially minded values are ancillary or a marketing ploy.

Originality/value

This is the first systematic attempt to characterize the stewardship organization. After providing three specific examples of such organizations, the contribution identifies key markers of bona fide stewardship organizations.

Details

American Journal of Business, vol. 35 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1935-5181

Keywords

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Article

Mark Lehrer and Stefan Schmid

For firms that depend on personalized management as a key element of their competitive advantage, maintaining personalized management in the face of sustained growth…

Abstract

Purpose

For firms that depend on personalized management as a key element of their competitive advantage, maintaining personalized management in the face of sustained growth presents a particular challenge. The purpose of this paper is to examine how firms in the Germanic Mittelstand have endeavored to “scale up” personalization.

Design/methodology/approach

Different ways of scaling up personalization are explained with examples.

Findings

The concept of personalization need not just concern customers, in contrast to conventional treatments of personalization. Mittelstand firms illustrate the scaling up of personalization to target stakeholder groups other than just customers.

Research limitations/implications

In recent years, personalization has come to refer to the customization of products to the preferences of individual customers. In contrast, a neglected but important topic is personalization of and within firms. Personalization refers to imbuing a firm with the personal qualities of individual personalities indissociable from management of the company.

Practical implications

Methods for scaling up personalization need to be truly scalable to be effective. Methods that only enable a one-time enlargement in the scope of the personalized business are liable to fail in the longer run.

Originality/value

By examining personalization as an important characteristic of small to medium-sized firms that they wish to maintain as they grow larger, this study highlights a little noticed dimension of Mittelstand growth strategies – and endeavors to bring personality back into research on “personalization.”

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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Article

Mark Lehrer and Stefan Schmid

This paper aims to explore hidden wellsprings of risk-taking in family firms.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore hidden wellsprings of risk-taking in family firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The high tolerance for risk shown repeatedly by the famous family firm Hipp of Germany is documented. Three major risk-taking episodes at Hipp are examined.

Findings

Counterintuitively, conservative values were actually a major facilitator of risk-taking at Hipp.

Research limitations/implications

The ramifications for other family firms, especially in Germany’s so-called Mittelstand, are examined. An open question is whether the relevant scope of the foregoing analysis may be confined to national contexts like German Mittelstand with its highly developed sector of family firms.

Practical implications

Contrary to received wisdom, family firms with conservative values may actually have certain advantages in their capacity not only to assume certain types of risks but also to mitigate such risks. Especially the communitarian embeddedness of such values may provide a layer of risk mitigation.

Social implications

At least in some countries, such as Germany, family firms are indeed willing to engage in substantial risk-taking. With their approach of combining conservative values and risk-taking, they contribute to considerable wealth and societal development.

Originality/value

Conservatism in management and risk-taking propensity are usually thought of as antipodes. However, it is necessary to distinguish between conservatism (which usually equates to risk aversion) and conservative values (which, as shown, may be highly compatible with a willingness to engage and succeed in risky undertakings).

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 40 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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Article

Mark Lehrer and Stefan Schmid

The purpose of this paper is to develop the hitherto unexplored concept of strategic discipline.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop the hitherto unexplored concept of strategic discipline.

Design/methodology/approach

Three fairly iconic firms of the Germanic Mittelstand (ALDI, Stihl and Hipp) are examined. The meaning and relevance of strategic discipline is derived.

Findings

Intuitively, strategic discipline may seem like the antipode to the much-discussed concept of pivoting. In fact, strategic discipline is shown to be the natural corollary of strategic pivoting as a successive phase in a company’s development.

Research limitations/implications

In fast-moving or fast-changing environments, strategic discipline may be inappropriate. Furthermore, the exercise of strategic discipline can restrain growth. Once firms have attained a certain size and saturation of the market, the desire for further growth may entail a willingness to loosen the hold of strategic discipline.

Practical implications

Strategic discipline can enable firms to avoid falling into common strategic pitfalls. From this paper, the authors distill three basic dimensions of strategic discipline: cultivating simplicity, resisting short-term temptations and focusing on implementability.

Originality/value

The success of firms depends as much on the strategic choices they make as upon the strategic choices they decide not to make. Most prior research has focused on the visible strategy choices companies have made a lot more than on the practically invisible history of strategic choices that firms have not made. This contribution does the opposite, filling an evident gap.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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Article

Mark Lehrer and Sokol Celo

This paper aims to provide a novel way of thinking about firm internationalization. We offer a stylized view of family firms as internationalizers who choose to engage in…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a novel way of thinking about firm internationalization. We offer a stylized view of family firms as internationalizers who choose to engage in “boundary-spanning” across global product markets while engaging in “boundary-buffering” to insulate themselves from global financial markets.

Design/methodology/approach

The case of Germany, with its large stock of internationalized family firms, shows how boundary-buffering vis-à-vis global capital markets can be compatible with successful and sustained internationalization and boundary-spanning in global product markets. Statistics are supplied.

Findings

To compensate for the lack of resources stemming from their abstinence from global financial markets, German family firms draw on country-specific conditions favorable to the proliferation of large internationalized family firms. Insights from the German case serve to derive propositions.

Originality/value

The developed concept of an internationalization pathway for family firms contrasts with the much more established concept of an internationalization process for family firms. The contrast between a “pathway” and a “process” amounts to the distinction between ends and means: the internationalization pathway (as defined here) has largely to do with strategic choice, whereas the internationalization process (as defined in the literature) focuses more on barriers to internationalization and means for overcoming them.

Details

Review of International Business and Strategy, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-6014

Keywords

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Article

Whitney Douglas Fernandez, Yannick Thams and Mark Lehrer

Although resource dependence theory (RDT) has substantially deepened the understanding of the function and role of boards, no systematic review of this body of work has…

Abstract

Purpose

Although resource dependence theory (RDT) has substantially deepened the understanding of the function and role of boards, no systematic review of this body of work has yet been undertaken. The purpose of this paper is to synthesize prior research on the strategically relevant resources provided by board members to their organization in the light of RDT and indicate avenues for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

The review covers 79 research articles from 1978 to 2016 dealing with the resource provision of boards of directors.

Findings

Board capital research most often assumes a positive, linear relationship between board capital, resource provision and ultimately firm-level performance outcomes. This tendency tends to exclude from view the possibility of important trade-offs relevant to both theory and practice. Future research will need to incorporate more complex models that take into consideration nonlinear and curvilinear effects. The authors outline opportunities to advance board research by refining the methodological techniques employed.

Originality/value

By recommending investigation of the important trade-offs inherent in board composition, the authors seek to inspire future research that offers practical guidance for improving the effectiveness of corporate boards.

Details

American Journal of Business, vol. 34 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1935-5181

Keywords

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Book part

Robert DeFillippi and Mark Lehrer

Project-based organization (PBO) can serve as a temporary organizational form in response to uncertainty or turbulent environmental conditions. An updated retrospective…

Abstract

Project-based organization (PBO) can serve as a temporary organizational form in response to uncertainty or turbulent environmental conditions. An updated retrospective study of the Danish hearing aids maker Oticon illustrates the role of PBO (the so-called spaghetti organization) in guiding the company through a specific period of industry turbulence and the company leader's search for a more effective structure to organize innovation within the company. The spaghetti organization was experimental in two distinct senses. First, the spaghetti organization tested the limits of decentralization, bottom-up self-organizing innovation, and PBO. Inspired by the experience of just how dysfunctional hierarchy could become, Oticon's spaghetti organization tested the limits of nonhierarchy. And unlike the failed Brook Farm utopia of the 1840s, the utopia of radical project-based organizing at Oticon proved highly successful as a means of promoting innovation even if the spaghetti organization was not sustainable in its original form and required subsequent modification. Second, Oticon was essentially a natural experiment testing and refuting the complementarities-based claim that intermediate forms of organization which include elements of both hierarchical organization and team (or project-based) organization are inherently unstable.

Details

Project-Based Organizing and Strategic Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-193-0

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Article

Vanessa Ratten, Veland Ramadani, Leo-Paul Dana, Frank Hoy and Joao Ferreira

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of family entrepreneurship and internationalization strategies by discussing the papers in this special journal issue.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of family entrepreneurship and internationalization strategies by discussing the papers in this special journal issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The main research areas related to family business are discussed in terms of socioemotional wealth and societal trends. A review of the literature is conducted to highlight the emerging themes affecting the decision of family businesses to internationalize.

Findings

The paper stresses how it is important to have an entrepreneurial approach to internationalization of family businesses.

Research limitations/implications

As more family businesses are born globals, it is important to focus on the positive aspects of internationalization, including emerging markets and gaining important entrepreneurial knowledge.

Practical implications

Family businesses need to be more innovative and risk-taking in their approach to internationalization as it helps them build their reputation and increase performance.

Originality/value

As there are limited studies about family entrepreneurship and internationalization in terms of a broad view of family, this paper takes an inclusive approach to the changing nature of how a family is defined in today’s global society.

Details

Review of International Business and Strategy, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-6014

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Project-Based Organizing and Strategic Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-193-0

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Book part

Andreas Al-Laham has been holding the chair for strategic and international management at the University of Mannheim since September 2009. After his studies of economics…

Abstract

Andreas Al-Laham has been holding the chair for strategic and international management at the University of Mannheim since September 2009. After his studies of economics and business administration at the Technical University of Dortmund he received his PhD (1996) and Habilitation (2000) degree at the same University, Faculty of Business Administration, Chair of Strategic and International Management. From 2000 to 2002 he worked as a visiting research scholar and visiting professor for strategic management and organizational theory at the J.L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Canada. Afterward he became professor of international management and business policy at the University of Stuttgart. In 2004 he took a professorship of strategic management at the CASS Business School, City University of London, UK. Up till today, he is visiting professor for General Management and International Strategy. Between 2006 and 2009 he held the chair for management and international strategy at the University of Kaiserslautern. He has written several books, for example! Strategisches Management. Theoretische Grundlagen-Prozesse-Implementierung (together with M. K. Welge), Organisationales Wissensmanagement. Vahlens Handbücher der Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaft, Praxis des strategischen Managements (together with M. K. Welge and P. Kajüter) and Strategieprozesse in deutschen Unternehmungen. His current research focuses on evolutionary dynamics in the German biotech-industry, alliances and network dynamics as well as the internationalization of SME.

Details

Project-Based Organizing and Strategic Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-193-0

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