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Book part
Publication date: 31 July 2020

Rita Berggren, Johanna E. Pregmark, Tobias Fredberg and Björn Frössevi

The literature on organizational change has long acknowledged the need to balance stability and economic efficiency with the need to be flexible and to change. Authors…

Abstract

The literature on organizational change has long acknowledged the need to balance stability and economic efficiency with the need to be flexible and to change. Authors, certainly in the dynamic capabilities tradition but also in other perspectives, have stressed the importance of more open and loosely coupled systems to promote adaption. However, many organizations do not operate on such premises but rather rely on creating efficient business units through tight coupling, building strict social and administrative control, and jointly relying on common systems. In this study, we conduct 46 interviews with employees from three different retail organizations to investigate how units in such tightly coupled systems change within the framework of the set standards. Through contrasting the characteristics of high and low functioning units, we identify three mechanisms that seem to enable the units to successfully and repeatedly realign and establish new configurations. We conclude that the orchestrator of all three realignment mechanisms is the middle manager, and we discuss the middle manager's role and the different activities that enable a successful realignment.

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Research in Organizational Change and Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-083-7

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Book part
Publication date: 9 July 2010

Donald Palmer and Michael Maher

We use normal accident theory to analyze the financial sector, especially that part of the financial sector that processed home mortgages, and the mortgage meltdown. We…

Abstract

We use normal accident theory to analyze the financial sector, especially that part of the financial sector that processed home mortgages, and the mortgage meltdown. We maintain that the financial sector was highly complex and tightly coupled in the years leading up to the mortgage meltdown. And we argue that the meltdown exhibited characteristics of a system or normal accident; the result of a component failure (unusually high mortgage defaults) that, in the context of unique conditions (which included low interest rates and government policy encouraging home loans to less credit-worthy households), resulted in complex and tightly coupled interactions that financial elites and government officials were ill-equipped to control. We also consider the role that agency and wrongdoing played in the design of the financial system and the unfolding of the mortgage meltdown. We conclude that a fundamental restructuring of the financial system, so as to reduce complexity and coupling, is required to avert future similar financial debacles. But we also conclude that such a restructuring faces significant obstacles, given the interests of powerful actors and the difficulties of labeling those responsible for the meltdown as wrongdoers.

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Markets on Trial: The Economic Sociology of the U.S. Financial Crisis: Part A
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-205-1

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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2013

Clive Dimmock and Cheng Yong Tan

While Singapore's outstanding educational achievements are well known worldwide, there is a disproportionate paucity of literature on school leadership practices that…

Abstract

Purpose

While Singapore's outstanding educational achievements are well known worldwide, there is a disproportionate paucity of literature on school leadership practices that contribute to and support pedagogical initiatives that – along with socio‐cultural factors – are normally considered responsible for its educational success. The aim of this paper is to explicate system‐wide school leadership factors that contribute to Singapore's educational success.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper includes critical discussion, review of literature and conceptualization.

Findings

It is argued that three unique features of Singapore school leadership, namely – logistics of a small tightlycoupled school system, human resource policies that reinforce alignment, and a distinctive “leader‐teacher compact” reflecting the predominant Chinese culture – account for the extraordinary level of tight coupling and alignment of leadership across the school system. In turn, these unique features bring synergies of sustainability, scalability, succession, and high performance across the entire Singapore school system.

Research limitations/implications

Unique features of Singapore school leadership must be examined in conjunction with pedagogical initiatives and socio‐cultural factors for a more complete and nuanced understanding of educational success in Singapore.

Practical implications

Tightly coupled mechanisms of leadership underlie the success of Singapore education. Government needs to consider whether such tightlycoupled leadership will continue to serve it well in future, given the demand for twenty‐first century knowledge based skills.

Social implications

The influence of socio‐cultural factors (e.g. leader‐teacher compact) on educational success merits inclusion in any explanation.

Originality/value

This paper addresses an important gap in the literature by promulgating crucial features of school leadership that contribute to Singapore's educational success.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 51 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 2 January 2020

Kai Wilhelm Schmidt

The purpose of this paper is to explore the reasons behind the occurrence of serious accidents during interior firefighting operations of the German fire services despite…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the reasons behind the occurrence of serious accidents during interior firefighting operations of the German fire services despite numerous and significant safety improvements.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a case study relying on accident investigation reports from four accidents that happened in Germany between 2005 and 2016.

Findings

The study finds that the system of interior attack firefighting in Germany is a tightly coupled and complex system, as described by the normal accident theory, and that all four cases were caused by unanticipated interactions between components of the system and were therefore system accidents as described by the normal accident theory. This means that these accidents were ultimately caused by the properties of the system that make it susceptible to system accidents.

Research limitations/implications

To prevent these accidents, there is a need to change the properties of the system that make it susceptible to system accidents.

Practical implications

The study identifies factors that make the system inherently dangerous. Hence, practical measures can be undertaken to counter these factors and make the system safer.

Originality/value

This study is the first application of the normal accident theory to the operations of the fire services in general, and it is the first theory-guided inquiry into accidents of the German fire services. The findings of this paper provide new explanations for accidents and new approaches to improve safety during interior attack firefighting operations.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

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Book part
Publication date: 9 July 2010

Mauro F. Guillén and Sandra L. Suárez

In this article, we examine the different causal chains leading to the crisis in the United States and around the world, emphasizing the market developments, political…

Abstract

In this article, we examine the different causal chains leading to the crisis in the United States and around the world, emphasizing the market developments, political decisions, and organizational factors that led to the financial and economic meltdown. We argue that a series of political, regulatory, and organizational decisions and events prepared the ground for a major breakdown of financial and economic institutions, a “normal accident” that produced systemic reverberations across markets around the world. In the United States, political, regulatory, and organizational decisions made during the 1990s led to a situation of simultaneously high complexity and tight coupling in the financial system. The global economy also became more complex and tightly coupled during the 1990s, contributing to the rapid spread of the crisis across countries. We propose that solutions to the crisis will need to be tailored to the specific ways in which countries experienced the meltdown and the political preferences of interest groups and citizens. For the United States, the best approach would be to allow for a complex and innovative financial system but with a much reduced degree of coupling so as to avoid another financial normal accident.

Details

Markets on Trial: The Economic Sociology of the U.S. Financial Crisis: Part A
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-205-1

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1996

ATUL K. SHAH

In the wake of substantial losses suffered by derivatives dealers and end users in recent years, questions are being raised about the type of regulatory structure needed…

Abstract

In the wake of substantial losses suffered by derivatives dealers and end users in recent years, questions are being raised about the type of regulatory structure needed to monitor and control the use of derivatives. Financial institutions believe that the issue can be resolved by tighter internal controls, whereas regulators believe there is a need for more direct oversight. The conventional view is that derivatives are highly useful instruments which simply need to be handled with care. In this paper, it is argued that this belief is misplaced and, although useful for hedging, derivatives are a high risk technology which pose inherent difficulties for regulation and control. As suggested by Perrow, where the environment of such technologies is both complex and tightly coupled, such that any significant failure cannot be contained, the potential for catastrophe is significant. The foregoing analysis shows that derivatives operate in a complex and tightly coupled environment, posing a significant threat to the financial system. Regulatory reform would require much greater cooperation between regulators and a proactive approach to regulation rather than a reactive one.

Details

Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1358-1988

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Book part
Publication date: 22 July 2013

Stefano Brusoni and Andrea Prencipe

This chapter adopts a problem-solving perspective to analyze the competitive dynamics of innovation ecosystems. We argue that features such as uncertainty, complexity, and…

Abstract

This chapter adopts a problem-solving perspective to analyze the competitive dynamics of innovation ecosystems. We argue that features such as uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, entail different knowledge requirements which explain the varying abilities of focal firms to coordinate the ecosystem and benefit from the activities of their suppliers, complementors, and users. We develop an analytical framework to interpret various instances of coupling patterns and identify four archetypical types of innovation ecosystems.

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Collaboration and Competition in Business Ecosystems
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-826-6

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2017

Ivo Pontes Domingues and José Cunha Machado

The purpose of this paper is to examine the recursive perspective that emphasizes bureaucracy as a source of officers’ stress, explain officers’ stress as a loosely coupled

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the recursive perspective that emphasizes bureaucracy as a source of officers’ stress, explain officers’ stress as a loosely coupled effect, examine the positive effects of loose coupling and legitimize the necessity of improving context management as a stress-reduction factor.

Design/methodology/approach

The research methodology uses a quantitative perspective; the members of two police forces constituted the universe; the sampling technique was not random and accidental; and an exploratory factor analysis and an invariance measure were performed.

Findings

The stress phenomenon is common and similar in both police forces, which means that it is indifferent to their organizational differences and has common causes. Loose coupling is present in both police work settings and entails significant stress; and the search for an explanation of the stress caused by loosely coupled elements should focus on both the value chain and the processes.

Practical implications

Addressing this phenomenon should entail a twofold improvement strategy: the correction of loosely coupled organizational factors by revising the management processes that cause stress and the prevention of loosely coupled effects by using professional training to enhance adaptive behavior within specific contexts.

Originality/value

Police organizations are addressed as loosely coupled (anarchic organized) systems instead of tightly coupled (bureaucratic) systems. The loosely coupled factors that emerge inside bureaucratic organizations cause significant stress among officers and complementary research is necessary to analyze the fallacious nature of the recursive attribution of police stress to bureaucratic characteristics.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 40 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 6 April 2020

Mekhail Mustak and Loic Plé

This study aims to examine the development of service ecosystems literature and its four premises as follows: the characterization of service ecosystems as loosely coupled

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the development of service ecosystems literature and its four premises as follows: the characterization of service ecosystems as loosely coupled systems, the existence of shared institutional arrangements among actors, the occurrence of resource-integrating interactions among actors and value co-creation as the stated purpose of service ecosystems.

Design/methodology/approach

With a systematic literature review, the paper identifies and analyzes 98 articles on service ecosystems. An examination and a cross-check of the central elements of the articles reveal gaps and limitations in the analysis of service ecosystems. These results lead to the formulation of four propositions and suggestions for further research.

Findings

The four premises of service ecosystems are constrained by overly optimistic perceptions that prevent theoretical advancements. These premises overlook possible tight coupling; power asymmetries; divergent interpretations of institutions and institutional arrangements; divergent interpretations of actors’ resource-integrating actions, intentions and abilities; and the co-destruction of value. Four propositions are formulated to address these challenges.

Research limitations/implications

The shortcomings reflect the systematic literature review, which only covers a specific area of the extant knowledge base, namely, English-language articles published in peer-reviewed international journals.

Originality/value

This study extensively and critically investigates the premises of service ecosystems for the first time, proposing a more holistic, dynamic and realistic understanding of them. In so doing, it paves the way for renewed conceptualizations of service ecosystems.

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2007

Cliff Bowman and Véronique Ambrosini

The paper aims to address the following questions: “How is value created within a firm?” and “Is the distinction between competitive and corporate strategy helpful in…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to address the following questions: “How is value created within a firm?” and “Is the distinction between competitive and corporate strategy helpful in considering the processes of value creation?”

Design/methodology/approach

The paper distinguishes five value‐creating activities within the firm. Three are involved in the process of current value creation, one is directed at the maintenance of the firm and the other activity is concerned with the creation of future value. These processes of value creation are then explored from the perspective of corporate and business levels of strategy by considering whether these activities can be tightly or loosely coupled.

Findings

The paper argues that decisions regarding loosely or tightly coupled value‐creating activities should belong to the realm of corporate strategy and that this “corporatising” choice involves trade‐offs in terms of responsiveness and cost.

Practical implications

The arguments in this paper can be used by managers to help them think through the consequences of any corporate level strategy decisions they may envisage taking.

Originality/value

This paper addresses traditional strategic management questions by building on a range of literatures, and proposes an original and meaningful way of examining the role of corporate and competitive strategy.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 45 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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