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Article

Stephen Ackroyd and Stephen J. Procter

Although the argument will review a good deal of contemporary and historical research data, it is not to be thought of as an empirical undertaking. It is mainly an…

Abstract

Although the argument will review a good deal of contemporary and historical research data, it is not to be thought of as an empirical undertaking. It is mainly an exercise in secondary interpretation or meta‐analysis, in which findings and propositions produced by a variety of writers for a variety of audiences is reworked and re‐presented. The paper starts from the problems of contemporary manufacturing in Britain. As one authority has recently suggested: “The relatively weak performance of British firms in international markets for technologically sophisticated products in…electrical machinery and engineering products is an acknowledged fact” (Balasubramanyam, 1994. See also Coates, 1994; Ackroyd and Whittaker, 1990). In this paper it is taken as self‐evident that the successful manufacturing firm must deploy in the market high quality and differentiated products at competitive prices. The main part of the answer of how to do this under current market conditions is equally plain: it involves innovating new products, adapting product lines rapidly and, when required, increasing (and, if necessary) decreasing the scale of productive operations. The word which best sums up these requirements for successful manufacturing in current market conditions, is flexibility. Whilst we would agree that the Atkinson model of the flexible firm is based on inadequate research and inadequate analysis, against the view of some other commenta‐tors (see, in particular, Pollert, 1991), it seems to us that the question of flexibility is worth considering in more depth (see also Procter, et al, 1994). The question with which this paper is concerned is: to what extent can the British achieve flexible manufacturing?

Details

Management Research News, vol. 20 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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Article

Stephen Procter and Stephen Ackroyd

In the late 1980s, the idea of Japanization dominated debates about the restructuring of production, work and industrial relations in this country. There was, of course…

Abstract

In the late 1980s, the idea of Japanization dominated debates about the restructuring of production, work and industrial relations in this country. There was, of course, some evidence to support the Japanization thesis; yet, even at the time of the strongest influence, there were indications that it did not describe what was happening very well. It now seems much more plausible to argue that British manufacturing companies were on a distinctive trajectory of development, which has only passing similarities to Japanese patterns of organization.

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Employee Relations, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article

Stephen Ackroyd

The unreflective adoption and use of technology by the police,combined with inadequate management, have helped to cause decline in therelations between the police and the…

Abstract

The unreflective adoption and use of technology by the police, combined with inadequate management, have helped to cause decline in the relations between the police and the public in Britain. Divides the recent history of the police into four periods: “traditional policing” (1945‐1960); “mechanized policing” (1960‐1972); “fire brigade policing” (1972‐1985); and “contemporary policing” (1985‐present). Traces the impact of technology on police practice and the contribution of management for each period. Argues that the development of reactive policing, following the adoption of cars and radios, disrupts the traditionally stable relations between the police and the public, and this is made worse by the administrative centralization subsequently adopted. The result has been widespread resentment of the police, and in some communities organized resistance to their initiatives. In the contemporary period, there are only the beginnings of the development of suitable management practice.

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International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Stephen Ackroyd and Jonathan Murphy

The paper's aim is to consider the effects of recurrent economic crisis on the management and organisational structures of transnational companies based in the UK by…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper's aim is to consider the effects of recurrent economic crisis on the management and organisational structures of transnational companies based in the UK by considering contemporary evidence and scholarly views of the processes involved, and especially to consider the contributions of the papers that follow in this special issue of the journal.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides a summary overview of some of the key evidence and arguments concerning the origin of recent continuing crises in Western capitalism. The paper places in context and assesses the contribution of five papers especially selected by the editors to be included in this special issue which bear on different aspects.

Findings

The paper suggests several key processes are at work in contemporary capitalism, which can be summed up as increasing financialisation. This is the process by which businesses are increasingly orientated to the extraction of value, and success is primarily assessed in terms of the rate of return to capital employed. In their different ways the papers in the special issue illustrate aspects of the process of financialisation, including: the operation of a new set of financial institutions including private equity and hedge funds, and the effects of these on the various policies and priorities of the executive leaders of large businesses in such areas as human resource management and the adoption of new organisational forms. The discussion extends to the consideration of the effects of change on international finance and argues for the origins of changes in changed class relations.

Research limitations/implications

The implications of this work are that the character and reach of current economic change are further illuminated – including especially the underlying causes of the present economic crisis.

Social implications

Financialisation represents both a reorganisation of the processes of capitalist production and a class strategy of international elites to entrench their advantages in the new conditions of international political economy opened through the intellectual and policy triumph of neoliberal thinking.

Originality/value

The work brings together scattered insights and viewpoints and builds them into a coherent synthesis. It thus moves beyond limited conceptions and insights.

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Article

Stephen Ackroyd and Philip A. Crowdy

This article questions whether a core objectiveof HRM – to manage organisational culture – isfeasible, other than at a most superficial level.On the basis of an in‐depth…

Abstract

This article questions whether a core objective of HRM – to manage organisational culture – is feasible, other than at a most superficial level. On the basis of an in‐depth case study analysis the authors argue that the dominant values of society at large are implicated in what appears to be the spontaneous formation and character of occupational cultures. The article raises the question of whether spontaneously occurring “cultures of excellence” are gratuitously hijacked by self‐serving managerial groups, happy to co‐opt the sub‐culture of work groups when it works to their advantage.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 19 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Book part

Alison Barnes and Lucy Taksa

Misbehavior is ubiquitous. Its occurrence stretches back in time and shows little sign of abating. According to Richards (2008, pp. 653–654), organizational misbehavior…

Abstract

Misbehavior is ubiquitous. Its occurrence stretches back in time and shows little sign of abating. According to Richards (2008, pp. 653–654), organizational misbehavior “has been a prominent feature of organizational studies throughout the twentieth century and continues to command similar attention in the first decade of the twenty-first century.” Early interest has been traced back to F. W. Taylor's criticisms of workers’ restriction of output (Taylor, 2003) in the first two decades of the twentieth century, a phenomenon also considered by Donald Roy (1952, 1959) after World War Two, and subsequently extended by Jason Ditton (1977) and Gerald Mars (1982) to include workplace crimes such as “fiddles and theft.” In more recent times, such fiddles have been extended to the study of “cyberslacking” (Block, 2001), “cyberloafing” (Lim, 2002), and general workplace internet misuse (Lara, Tacoronte, Ding, & Ting, 2006). Yet, despite such interest in “organizational misbehavior,” the scholarship in this field is relatively recent and generally traced back to the work of Vardi and Wiener (1996) and Ackroyd and Thompson (1999).

Details

Rethinking Misbehavior and Resistance in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-662-1

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Book part

Stephen Ackroyd

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to offer a general review of the field of organizational misbehavior and to pose the question: what has happened in this field in…

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to offer a general review of the field of organizational misbehavior and to pose the question: what has happened in this field in the last twenty years?

Method – The chapter uses the theoretical framework developed in the book Organizational Misbehavior (1999) as a template and considers a range of developments in organizations and their context together with the findings of much new research into organizational misbehavior.

Findings – Classic forms of misbehavior identified in earlier work (absenteeism, effort limitation, utilitarian sabotage, etc.) are not as significant as they once were because the conditions necessary for the co-production of these forms of misbehavior often no longer apply. It is also proposed, however, that the findings from a great deal of the more recent literature – that there has been a proliferation in the range and types of organizational misbehavior and increase in its subtlety – are not indicative of a decline in the impulse to misbehave nor of the significance of misbehavior more generally. On the contrary, what we see is indicative of a period of widespread behavioral innovation, in which new outlets for the impulse to misbehave are finding expression even against a background of a general shift in the balance of power in favor of the employer. In the longer term there is every reason to expect that new areas of significant contestation will re-emerge, and with this the crystallization of some new and distinctive forms of misbehavior.

Social implications – A clear implication of the analysis is that there is little reason for complacency on the part of managers and management academics that the problem of misbehavior has disappeared.

Value of chapter – Updating the findings in the book Organizational Misbehavior (1999) in light of a range of recent developments in organizations and their context, together with recent research into organizational misbehavior.

Details

Rethinking Misbehavior and Resistance in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-662-1

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Article

Stephen Ackroyd and Keith Soothill

This proposed paper takes the opportunity to review findings from research and reported processes in a range of public sector services; education, health, social…

Abstract

This proposed paper takes the opportunity to review findings from research and reported processes in a range of public sector services; education, health, social work/social care and policing/security. It offers a general analysis of the impact of the new management on a range of public sector occupations. Among other sources, the paper draws particularly on research by the authors in several of these areas including, specifically, research into the NHS hospitals, social work, and the police.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 17 no. 7/8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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Article

Stephen Ackroyd

This paper reports some of the findings from a cross‐national study of small, high‐technology firms. It sets out some of the background to the work, describing methods as…

Abstract

This paper reports some of the findings from a cross‐national study of small, high‐technology firms. It sets out some of the background to the work, describing methods as well as results. The main contribution of the paper, however, will be to discuss some of the organisational forms encountered in the research and to speculate about the implications of these findings in terms of current debates concerning socio‐economic change, especially to connect debate about organisational structure (flexibility, decentredness) with ideas concerning inter‐organisational structures (networks), and the relationship of these to regional and national economic development. Data collection is still proceeding.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 15 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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Article

Pamela Ackroyd and Stephen Ackroyd

University governance has been in flux for some time. Examines the current situation, the legal framework and how power is distributed. Discusses the problems and…

Abstract

University governance has been in flux for some time. Examines the current situation, the legal framework and how power is distributed. Discusses the problems and concludes that effective goverance is most likely to be achieved when the constituent parts of the organization exist in creative tension, which could mean the need for less external control and not more.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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