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Article
Publication date: 23 January 2009

Eric Brun, Alf Steinar Saetre and Martin Gjelsvik

The “fuzzy front end” of new product development (NPD) is characterized by considerable uncertainty and ambiguity, but detailed studies of ambiguity specifically related…

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Abstract

Purpose

The “fuzzy front end” of new product development (NPD) is characterized by considerable uncertainty and ambiguity, but detailed studies of ambiguity specifically related to NPD are missing. This paper aims to establish a classification of ambiguity in NPD processes.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors' research design is a holistic multiple‐case‐study design with the NPD project as the unit of analysis. A model is developed through a grounded theory approach, using qualitative analysis of case data from four medical‐device companies.

Findings

The authors present a model that classifies ambiguity along two dimensions: subject and source. The subjects of ambiguity include product, market, process, and organizational resources, whereas the sources of ambiguity include multiplicity, novelty, validity, and reliability.

Research limitations/implications

As the study is based on just four case studies in a single industry segment, further research is needed to determine the model's wider applicability. Further research is also suggested, exploring how and in what contexts ambiguity should be managed as a balance between reducing or sustaining it.

Practical implications

The model presented helps practitioners to better understand the origins and character of ambiguity in NPD, thereby improving their ability to manage it in their NPD projects.

Originality/value

The model provides an improved theoretical understanding of ambiguity as a component of “fuzziness” in NPD by providing a detailed account of how ambiguity is related to specific elements of the NPD process in terms of where and why it occurs.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 July 2017

Johan Alvehus

By drawing on a detailed case study of the work of tax consultants, the purpose of this paper is to develop a more detailed understanding of the role of ambiguity in…

Abstract

Purpose

By drawing on a detailed case study of the work of tax consultants, the purpose of this paper is to develop a more detailed understanding of the role of ambiguity in professional work, and its relationship to the division of labour in professional service firms (PSFs).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a three-year, longitudinal interpretive case study comprising 42 interviews, supplemented by observations and document data.

Findings

The research determines that processes of “obfuscation” and “privatisation” separate client work from case work. This maintains a division of labour between junior and senior professionals, which in turn facilitates financial leverage. The findings indicate that a more nuanced view on the role and origins of ambiguity is needed; particularly the role ambiguity plays in the division of labour. While inherent in professional work, ambiguity is also an effect of the way work processes are organised in order to obtain leverage.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on a case study. Therefore, the paper explores its topic in empirical detail, but at the same time calls for exploring the topic in different contexts. The paper encourages further research on the role ambiguity plays being constituted by structural arrangements, and on the way the core of professionalism is inverted by the division of labour. The paper highlights the value of detailed empirical approaches for understanding professional work.

Practical implications

The paper draws attention to the way ambiguity becomes a part in sustaining a division of labour among professional workers, and to the importance of this in maintaining financial leverage as well as in creating a precarious work situation for junior professionals.

Social implications

The paper raises concerns about the way professional work is legitimated in society as opposed to how it is constructed in PSFs.

Originality/value

The paper challenges prevalent notions of professional work as ambiguous, offering instead a way of engaging with professional work processes in detail, theoretically and methodologically. Traditional assumptions about the division of labour and the “core” of professional work are problematized, and traditional assumptions about ambiguity as a cause of specific structural arrangements are questioned.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 October 2019

Sonja Christ-Brendemühl and Mario Schaarschmidt

The purpose of this study is to investigate how the implementation of digital interfaces into service encounters is transforming demands toward frontline service…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate how the implementation of digital interfaces into service encounters is transforming demands toward frontline service employees. In addition to having the potential to enhance employee–customer interactions, changes related to new technologies can be perceived as stressful by employees and might foster deviation from prescribed processes.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the transactional theory of stress and coping as a theoretical framework, this paper aims to develop and test a research model to investigate the influence of technology-induced role ambiguity on constructive and destructive process deviance. Data were collected via an online survey of 123 frontline service employees in restaurants that have online reservation systems in use.

Findings

The results confirm that employee resistance to change fosters role ambiguity, while self-efficacy reduces the latter. Technology-induced role ambiguity leads to both constructive and destructive process deviance.

Originality/value

By revealing the above relationships, this study contributes to research in services marketing by examining two types of employees’ deviance from customer-facing processes.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 33 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 July 2020

Saileshsingh Gunessee and Nachiappan Subramanian

The first purpose of this paper is to situate and conceptualise ambiguity in the operations management (OM) literature, as connected to supply chain decision-making…

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Abstract

Purpose

The first purpose of this paper is to situate and conceptualise ambiguity in the operations management (OM) literature, as connected to supply chain decision-making (SCDM). The second purpose is to study the role of ambiguity-coping mechanisms in that context.

Design/methodology/approach

This research uses the behavioural decision theory (BDT) to better embed ambiguity in a generic SCDM framework. The framework explicates both behavioural and non-behavioural antecedents of ambiguity and enables us to also ground the “coping” mechanisms as individual and organisational level strategies. Properties of the framework are illustrated through two “ambiguous” events – the 2011 Thai flood and Covid-19 pandemic.

Findings

Three key findings are documented. First, ambiguity is shown to distinctively affect supply chain decisions and having correspondence with specific coping mechanisms. Second, the conceptual framework shows how individual coping mechanisms can undermine rational-based organisational coping mechanisms, leading to “sub-optimal” (poor) supply chain decisions. Third, this study highlights the positive role of visibility but surprisingly organisational “experiential” learning is imperfect, due to the focus on “similar” past experience and what is known.

Originality/value

The paper is novel in two ways. First, it introduces ambiguity – an often neglected concept in operations management – into the supply chain lexicon, by developing a typology of ambiguity. Second, ambiguity-coping mechanisms are also introduced as both individual and organisational strategies. This enables the study to draw distinctive theoretical and practical implications.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 40 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Nicole Gross and Susi Geiger

Focussing on the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship, the purpose of this paper is to advance an understanding of entrepreneurial practice in phases of radical change…

Abstract

Purpose

Focussing on the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship, the purpose of this paper is to advance an understanding of entrepreneurial practice in phases of radical change, which the authors conceptualize as periods of liminality. A particular focus on the management of tension is taken to investigate destabilization of practices, sources of resistance and enablers of change during shifts from a familiar past into an unfamiliar and uncertain future.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory longitudinal study of a single case firm was conducted to study the entrepreneurial change process during radical transition phases. To understand and theorize liminality and practice renewal in the entrepreneurial firm, the authors leveraged data collection tools from ethnography and engaged in data analysis inspired by grounded theory.

Findings

The authors build a process model of becoming that maps the following processes: destabilizing incumbent practices, sources of resistance and enablers of change, acceptance of upheaval and trying on a new state of being. A research agenda for future research in this area is also formulated.

Originality/value

The research contributes to contemporary entrepreneurship-as-practice research and to research considering the concept of liminality in entrepreneurship. Through processual theory building based on empirical research, the authors highlight that simultaneously handling the practices of the past whilst breeding new trajectories in an unknown future create tensions that can make or break the entrepreneurial firm.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 27 October 2014

Alain Guiette and Koen Vandenbempt

This paper seeks to develop a mid-range theory of how change recipient sensemaking processes affect the realization of strategic flexibility during simultaneous change in…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to develop a mid-range theory of how change recipient sensemaking processes affect the realization of strategic flexibility during simultaneous change in professional service firms.

Methodology/approach

The research presented is based on an exploratory embedded case study adopting a qualitative interpretive methodology, conducted at a professional service organization. A sensemaking lens was adopted in order to study organizational change processes. Data was collected through semi-structured open-ended in-depth interviews, and analyzed using first and second order analysis, inspired by the methodology used by Corley and Gioia (2004).

Findings

We identified four determinants of change recipient sensemaking: professional identification, dominant organizational discourse, equivocality of expectations, and cross-understanding between thought worlds. Case findings indicate that cognitive and affective dimensions of change recipient sensemaking are strongly interwoven in their effect on realizing strategic flexibility.

Research implications

We contribute to the competence-based strategic management literature by introducing the concept of change recipient sensemaking in understanding the realization of strategic flexibility; by identifying four major determinants in a context of simultaneous change in a professional service organization; and by highlighting the interwoven and mutually reinforcing cognitive and affective dimensions of professional’s process of constructing meaning.

Details

A Focused Issue on Building New Competences in Dynamic Environments
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-274-6

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 30 October 2018

FR. Oswald A. J. Mascarenhas, S.J.

When FECS spins out of human intervention and regulatory control, then it can easily harm and constrain the markets as it happened on Black Friday of October 1929…

Abstract

Executive Summary

When FECS spins out of human intervention and regulatory control, then it can easily harm and constrain the markets as it happened on Black Friday of October 1929, resulting in the Great Depression, and the September–October 2008 Financial Crisis, when some 17 mega global investment banks ran out of control and lost close to trillion US dollars in market capitalization. This chapter defines, analyzes, classifies, and morally assesses occupational and corporate fraud, corruption and money-laundering, and their other evil forms. When we allow our choices to be driven by passion, choosing thereby to ignore or fail to investigate outcomes, the results are too often flawed and unintended, as the cases of Lehman Brothers, AIG, Freddie Mac, and Fannie May that collapsed around September–October 2008 would attest. While we should condemn abuses within the FECS, one can also seek to understand the origins and originating systems of fraud, corruption, and various forms of deceptions and chicanery, and search for remedial strategies for eradicating these ills of FECS. Several contemporary market cases of fraud, corruption, and bribery will be identified to illustrate the contents of this chapter.

Details

Corporate Ethics for Turbulent Markets
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-187-8

Article
Publication date: 2 October 2019

Ahmed Alnaggar and Michael Pitt

The purpose of this study is to outline the problems associated with asset information management using the Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to outline the problems associated with asset information management using the Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) standard and to analyse the causes of industry failure to successfully adopt the standard. Based on this analysis, the paper will propose a process model, namely, Lifecycle Exchange of Asset Data (LEAD) to manage asset dataflow between all building stakeholders from design to construction and ultimately to the facility management team. This model aims to help the construction supply chain to produce complete and high-quality asset data that supports the operation phase of the built environment.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of relevant studies provided a theoretical background for this study. The authors then collected and analysed COBie data from five live construction projects using building information modelling (BIM) projects from different design and construction companies. The process model is based on an industry placement within Bouygues UK construction company, which was a Tier 1 building contractor in London in the period from December 2016 to December 2018. The researcher used an inductive approach observing current practises in two construction projects to produce “LEAD” model. Then a focus group was conducted with industry experts to discuss and refine the process model.

Findings

Analysis of literature and data collected in the course of this study revealed that although COBie is a BIM Level 2 standard in the UK, there is currently a low success rate in producing complete and accurate COBie data in the UK construction industry. This low rate is because of COBie’s rigid data syntax/structure, complexity and ambiguity of its data exchange process, which suggests that COBie may not be the future of the industry. Based on these findings, the study proposed a process model, namely, “LEAD,” to improve COBie output and also to be used with project-specific information requirements.

Practical implications

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper is one of the first to focus solely on asset data exchange process using COBie standard and highlights the problems the industry faces in this remit. The study is based on industry placement for two years, so the analysis is based on actual and current industry problems. Current industry practices also informed the “LEAD” model, and the model provides a step-by-step guidance in producing and exchanging BIM asset data in all stages of the building lifecycle.

Originality/value

This paper provides a detailed analysis of the most common problems associated with COBie as an asset data exchange standard. Understanding these problems is of high value for industry practitioners to avoid them in projects. The paper also proposed a novel process model that can be used either to improve COBie quality or can be used with any project-specific data requirements.

Article
Publication date: 21 March 2016

Robin Pesch, Ricarda B. Bouncken and Sascha Kraus

Firms build new product development alliances to cope with the demands of continuous and rapid new product development. Such alliances allow surplus access to…

Abstract

Purpose

Firms build new product development alliances to cope with the demands of continuous and rapid new product development. Such alliances allow surplus access to complementary capabilities and knowledge. However, the successful use of specialization advantages requires coordination and effective communication between alliance partners. Communication is vital to alliance success, as it allows a timely flow of information and resources across partners and supports the coordination within the alliance. The aim of this study is to research how divergent communication schemes influence firms’ new product development performance in alliances.

Design/methodology/approach

A paper-and-pencil survey about firms’ collaborative new product development performance in the German medical device industry was conducted. Results are derived from a survey of n = 184 new product development alliances in the medical device industry. To test the hypotheses, structural equation modeling (SEM) using the Mplus 7.0 software was applied.

Findings

The empirical results indicate that divergent communication schemes enhance product innovativeness and speed to market in new product development alliances. The development of new insights and solutions through joint sensemaking builds the theoretical fundament for the supportive effects of divergent communication schemes. Divergent communication schemes go hand in hand with ambiguity, that is, the source of joint dialogues and discussion through which alliance partners refine and adapt their different perspectives and interpretations. However, the supportive effect of divergent communication schemes on speed to market declines with increasing collaboration intensity.

Research limitations/implications

The assessment of divergent communication schemes and new product development performance of the dyadic relationships in this survey is only based on one respondent. Furthermore, the study’s focus on a specific industry sector, albeit one fitting particularly well to the research question, may further limit the generalizability of the empirical findings. Future research should thus strive to take both firms of the dyadic relationship into account and moreover attempt to investigate mediating effects such as joint sensemaking or creativity.

Practical implications

The results indicate that alliance managers should become aware that different ways of communication are not per se dysfunctional. To achieve beneficial effects, they should enhance dialogues and constructive discussions through which the alliance partners develop novel insights and solutions on the fundament of occurring misunderstandings that root in divergent communication schemes. Regular meetings and conferences as well as inter-organizational teams should be applied because they stimulate joint dialogues and discussions in alliances. These instruments also enable learning processes and the development of trust that are both crucial for sensemaking processes in alliances.

Originality/value

Prior research has stressed the importance of interorganizational communication for the success of alliances. However, little is known about the effect of divergent communication schemes in alliances. This study shows theoretically and empirically that divergent communication schemes can improve new product development performance in alliances. The supportive effect of divergent communication schemes is contrary to the argumentation that communication problems and misinterpretations hamper alliance success.

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 39 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 July 2008

Terje Slåtten

The aim of this paper has been to study the relationships among: four role stressors (“role ambiguity”, “role overload”, “role conflict”, and “work‐family conflict”);…

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper has been to study the relationships among: four role stressors (“role ambiguity”, “role overload”, “role conflict”, and “work‐family conflict”); emotional satisfaction among employees; and employee‐perceived service quality.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model of the aforementioned relationships has been presented. Hypotheses regarding these relationships were proposed, and data were then collected by a cross‐sectional field study of employees in six post offices in Norway. These data have been analysed to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The study has found that “emotional satisfaction” is positively related to “employee‐perceived service quality”. Three role stressors (“role overload”, “role conflict”, and “work‐family conflict”) were negatively related to emotional satisfaction.

Research limitations/implications

The findings indicate that role stressors have a direct effect on the emotional satisfaction of employees and an indirect effect on employee‐perceived service quality.

Practical implications

The study has demonstrated the importance of role stressors in determining emotional satisfaction among employees, and thus indirectly influencing service quality. In particular, managers should be aware of the effect of work‐family conflict on the emotional satisfaction of employees (and hence on the service quality they provide to customers).

Originality/value

The paper has developed and tested an original conceptual model of a relatively unexplored area of services management.

Details

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

Keywords

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