برنامه های توسعه تامین کننده: فرآیند های عاقلانه یا ساختار تصویر سازمانی؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21306||2007||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11473 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 25, Issue 2, March 2007, Pages 556–572
Drawing on arguments from institutional theory, we examine the implementation and use of a supplier development program by a major North American automotive manufacturer. While all suppliers adopted the program as an apparent response to coercive institutional pressures from their customer, the study focuses on the effects of such pressures on internal information processing and the behavior of the actors involved. The study therefore addresses a significant gap in the institutional theory literature concerning the question of how managers reconcile potential conflicts between externally imposed institutional demands and internal operational efficiency constraints. Specifically, the supplier development process is conceptualized using two different approaches: one based on assumptions of rational efficiency, the other based on assumptions of institutional image construction. Five propositions were tested using quantitative data from the customer and interview data from the suppliers. Overall, the two propositions based on image construction were supported while only one proposition of the three for the rational decision making approach was partially supported. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding how a firm's institutional context influences the implementation and use of operation management strategies.
The institutional perspective has emerged as a dominant theoretical paradigm in organizational theory (OT) over the last two decades but has so far had relatively little impact on operations management (OM) research (Ketokivi and Schroeder, 2004). Institutional theory emphasizes social rather than economic influences on organizational structure and practice, and suggests that much organizational action can be explained in terms of symbolic attempts to influence and maintain legitimacy perceptions among key organizational stakeholders, rather than as rational efforts to operate efficiently (Meyer and Rowan, 1977, Scott, 2001 and Suchman, 1995). Most prominent among institutional arguments is the hypothesis of institutional isomorphism, which predicts that firms operating in similar fields are likely to adopt similar, or homogeneous, organizational forms and practices since they experience similar social pressures and stakeholder expectations (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983). Homogeneity pressures can be coercive as in the case of regulatory constraints that essentially force firms to adapt and behave in similar ways, normative in the sense that social expectations may encourage the use of a particular practice, or mimetic whereby firms imitate the strategies of others as a hedge against uncertainty about their relative efficiency (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983 and Haunschild and Miner, 1997). Recent research argues that homogeneity pressures also influence actors’ cognitive frameworks (Palmer and Biggart, 2002 and Scott, 2001) resulting in a “shared definition of social reality” (Scott, 1987, p. 496). Under this view, a practice is said to be institutionalized when it becomes habitual (Grewal and Dharwadkar, 2002) and its appropriateness is taken for granted within a given field (Berger and Luckmann, 1966), whether or not objective observers would regard it as efficient. Organizational researchers have used institutional arguments to explain patterns of innovation diffusion (Cole, 1989, Davis and Greve, 1997 and Palmer et al., 1993), the professionalization of managerial practice (Dobbin et al., 1993 and Espeland and Hirsch, 1990), preferences for functional backgrounds of CEO candidates (Ocasio and Kim, 1999), effects of the state on organizational form (Dobbin et al., 1988 and Ingram and Simmons, 2000), patterns of industry evolution (Biggart and Guillén, 1999 and Haveman and Rao, 1997), and other effects. With respect to applications relevant to OM, a few researchers have examined institutional influences on the adoption of total quality management (TQM; Bates and Hollingworth, 2004, Westphal et al., 1997 and Zbaracki, 1998), quality circles (Abrahamson, 1996), and supply chain business continuity planning (Zsidisin et al., 2005). Ketokivi and Schroeder (2004) found that institutional legitimacy explanations accounted for considerably more variance in the adoption of certain OM techniques than strategic or structural contingency theories in a survey of 164 firms. This work shows that institutional factors can influence the adoption of organizational and OM practices, but important issues relevant to OM remain relatively unexplored. First, researchers by and large have examined institutional effects at the firm level of analysis, ignoring the relationship between macro-institutional pressures and internal operations (Elsbach, 2002). For example, research has considered the influence of institutional factors on the initial adoption of organizational forms and practices, but not the ongoing internal use of techniques adopted in response to institutional pressures. The reasons may be both theoretical and empirical: influential early statements of institutional theory emphasized interactions between firms and the institutional fields in which they operated (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983 and Meyer and Rowan, 1977), and firm-level archival or survey data on the adoption of institutionalized practices are usually easier to obtain than interview or observational data on the implementation and day-to-day use of such practices (although the latter methods are becoming more prevalent in both OT and OM). Nonetheless, OM practices concern an organization's ongoing operations, so it is important to understand how pressures to maintain external legitimacy are dealt with internally by operations managers. If a new operational practice with uncertain efficiency consequences is adopted mainly as a symbolic response to external legitimacy pressures, how do managers reconcile the new practice with their substantive concerns for operational efficiency? It is unlikely that even boundedly rational managers (Simon, 1955) would permit symbolism to over-ride efficiency concerns for long, since this would jeopardize firm performance and survival (Perrow, 1985). It is more likely that new practices initially adopted in response to institutional pressures also appeal to managers’ efficiency concerns to at least some extent, such that both symbolic and efficiency outcomes are perceived to be associated with the same innovation. A second closely related concern deals with the conceptual structure of many OM innovations. Though many OM practices are quite concrete in nature, they often coalesce in more ambiguously defined bundles, such as TQM or lean manufacturing, each of which refers to a rather diverse collection of operational techniques. However, the predominant use of firm level data in institutional analyses makes it difficult to disaggregate the use of specific techniques from their collective labeling as part of a more general bundle. Westphal et al. (1997) found that different firms adopted widely different versions of TQM depending on the specific techniques subsumed under the label. This loose coupling, between concrete practices and the ambiguous labels used to represent them in organizational information, suggests the possibility of firms responding only symbolically to new institutional demands, while substantively maintaining the status quo or downplaying conflicting efficiency concerns that affect how they enact institutionalized practices in specific situations (Palmer and Biggart, 2002). Zbaracki (1998) reports that TQM implementers filtered information about implementation difficulties to create a rhetoric of success that diverged from operational practice. Similar symbolic responses to institutional pressures have been observed in schools adopting formalized procedures (Meyer and Rowan, 1977) and businesses adopting CEO long-term incentive plans (Zajac and Westphal, 1995). Such findings imply that biased information processing through the selective use of ambiguous labels can play a significant role in the maintenance of institutional legitimacy (Duimering and Safayeni, 1998). Faced with external pressure to adopt institutionalized practices that conflict with internal efficiency concerns, a firm may generate information to construct an image of meeting institutional demands while simultaneously accommodating substantive operational constraints. Since different firms in the same field each experience unique constraints on their operations, their adoption of institutionalized practices may be homogeneous in name only, but their implementations of these practices quite heterogeneous. This paper, therefore, addresses a significant gap in the institutional theory literature concerning the question of how operations managers reconcile potential conflicts between externally imposed institutional demands and internal operational efficiency constraints. The preceding discussion suggests a continuum of potential responses. In cases where there is little conflict, managers may find that adapting to institutional demands also contributes to operational efficiency. On the other hand, when institutional and efficiency demands are perceived to be in direct conflict, there is the possibility of managers responding only symbolically to institutional demands, by generating information that conveys an image of homogeneous adaptation to maintain legitimacy with external constituents, while dealing substantively with internal operational efficiency concerns behind the scenes. The latter response assumes a degree of flexibility between operational practices and how these practices are represented symbolically in organizational information (Duimering and Safayeni, 1998). The key contribution of this paper is its exploration of the internal operational implications of institutional theory. We examine institutional influences on the operation of a supplier development program by a major North American automotive manufacturer. Since supplier participation in the program was mandated by the automotive manufacturer the situation represents a fairly clear case of coercive institutional isomorphism (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983), and indeed, all of its first tier suppliers participated in the program. As such, our intent is not to demonstrate the trivial fact that suppliers adopted the program in response to external pressure from their customer acting as a powerful institutional force. Instead, we use field study data from various sources—interviews, participant observations and official program performance statistics—to examine the internal operationalization of the supplier development program, paying particular attention to the relationship between the rational efficiency and symbolism concerns of the organizational actors involved. Though the program was initially conceptualized as a rational decision making process, it became clear as the study unfolded that the symbolic construction of images to maintain legitimacy may have accounted for certain outcomes. The study contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between substance and symbolism in the implementation of institutionalized practices. The paper is organized as follows. First we briefly review the supplier development literature. We then examine theoretical assumptions underlying two competing views of supplier development programs, one based on a logic of rational efficiency, the other based on a logic of institutional symbolism, and offer specific propositions based on each view about expected outcomes of the automaker's program. Field study results will then be presented and used to test the stated propositions. The paper concludes with a discussion of the relationship between rational and institutional explanations for the implementation and use of OM techniques.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
OM researchers and practitioners tend to view their work largely in terms of the logic of rational efficiency. Organizational theorists have long questioned the rational bases of decision making and organizational action (Cohen et al., 1972, Cyert and March, 1963 and Simon, 1957) and argue that rational action is always embedded in a social context (Granovetter, 1985). Arguments from institutional theory can contribute to a better understanding of the social context of OM and supply chain management strategies. Yet most institutional theory applications to date focus on the firm level of analysis and consider only the initial adoption of new organizational forms and techniques. By contrast, understanding institutional influences on the implementation and use of OM techniques requires investigation of organizations’ internal operations. This paper has argued that external institutional forces encourage internal image construction in the context of organizational information processing. Beyond just adopting new techniques in response to institutional pressure, operations managers are also under pressure to demonstrate that the new techniques actually generate positive results, in short, that they are both rational and efficient. The image construction approach suggests that in the present study it may be useful to think of the supplier development workshops as a kind of performance in which participants cooperated to construct an image consistent with the customer's institutional expectations. Theoretically, the amount of reporting bias possible in such a situation could range anywhere from an accurate reporting of actual improvements to the total fabrication of information. With respect to this study it is likely that the truth was somewhere between these two extremes. The program was perceived as contributing substantive improvements, but its performance measures were also subject to various forms of manipulation and bias. Anecdotal evidence suggests practicing operations managers often find themselves caught in a similar position, between pressures to operate efficiently and pressures to demonstrate symbolically that they are satisfying various institutional demands (Ketokivi and Schroeder, 2004). How they cope with such situations is an important research question the present study has only begun to address. OM researchers are in a unique position to contribute both theoretically and empirically to a better understanding of this phenomenon, because their subject matter is grounded in substantive operational activities, whereas most organizational theorists have little direct experience with operational systems. By investigating how operations managers reconcile conflicting substantive and symbolic constraints in practice, both operations management and organizational theory stand to benefit.