قابلیت های پویا در یک کارخانه کوچک جهانی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21414||2014||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9110 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Business Review, Volume 23, Issue 1, February 2014, Pages 169–180
In order to balance their local and global operations optimally, SMEs are moving toward a ‘global factory’ type of organizational form, meaning a differentiated network of activities held together through the control of key assets and flows of knowledge, and coordinated by a focal firm. Managing such a network requires a specific dynamic capability comprising, according to our study, cognitive, managerial, and organizational capabilities. Cognitive capabilities – cultural awareness, entrepreneurial orientation, and a global mindset – are the basis for a global factory because they are the source for opportunity recognition and exploitation, and are therefore crucial. The focal firm's organizational flexibility and absorptive capacity, as well as managerial capabilities in the areas of interface competence and analytical capability, are needed in the steering of a small global factory, the success of which depends on the nurturing of these assets.
Following developments in technologies and markets, for instance, companies have begun building new kinds of organizational structures. An intriguing trend is the emergence of ‘the global factory’, defined here as a globally dispersed value network of goal-disparate organizations, which jointly generate the activities traditionally governed within a single company (Buckley, 2009a and Buckley and Ghauri, 2004; cf. Mudambi, 2008). Although the global factory has thus far been discussed only in the context of large corporations (Buckley, 2011), there are also a growing number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have built a similar governance structure as global presence has become a necessity for them (Gupta & Westney, 2003). This study is the first attempt to explore SMEs in this context. A small global factory is not a legal entity, rather a differentiated network coordinated by an SME (cf. Buckley, 2009a and Buckley, 2011) held together through the control of key assets, and flows of knowledge and intermediate products (cf. Buckley, 2007 and Buckley, 2009b). The global-factory structure results from the search for an optimal ownership and location solution for maximizing value-adding activities (Buckley, 2009b). Previous research recognizes that ownership advantages have been leveraged against geographically spread structures (Dunning, 1988 and Kogut and Zander, 1993), and that location-specific advantages are focal in foreign expansion, particularly when combined with firm-specific advantages (Dunning, 1988 and Erramilli et al., 1997). Nonetheless, recent studies have focused on location dynamics1 as companies increasingly shift between locations in the search for efficiency (Mudambi & Venzin, 2010). Researchers have explained this with reference to several theories, including the eclectic paradigm (Dunning, 2001), linkage economies (Mudambi, 2008), and the flying-geese paradigm (Kálmán, 2004). Finding an appropriate governance structure and managing it effectively is ‘a must’ in today's global business environment, and thus lies at the heart of international business theory. The emergence of global factories challenges existing theories in many respects. It requires a shift of focus from a single company toward inter-organizational, global value networks. Although the literature on multinational enterprises (MNEs) addresses geographical dispersion and conflicting goals in networked organizations (Ghoshal & Bartlett, 1990), and acknowledges the existence of ‘the embedded multinational’ (Forsgren, Holm, & Johanson, 2005), the governance mechanisms in the organizations concerned are largely based on ownership. This is quite surprising given Hymer's claim in his seminal works on foreign direct investment that ownership is not necessary for effective asset control (Strange & Newton, 2006). Therefore, existing international business theories only partially explain the novel phenomenon. Business models of the global factory are based on a very different logic: partnership instead of ownership. Thus, controlling and integrating critical resources is decisive (Buckley, 2011 and Mudambi and Venzin, 2010). In order to enjoy the benefits of outsourcing the firm's activities to independent partner firms, the consequential virtual organization needs to be motivated, monitored, and properly managed. Although something is known about how MNEs manage their alliances and partnerships, understanding the phenomenon from the SME perspective is in a nascent state. We believe it is of importance to make a distinction between small and larger established global factories. Most notably SMEs are different as they lack necessary resources (e.g., Buckley, 1989) and therefore, risking specific and non-redeployable investments might endanger future growth and even the survival of these firms (Sapienza, Autio, George, & Zahra, 2006). Thus, even if it might be rational to internalize activities (Erramilli & Rao, 1993) the constraints in the resource-base make it necessary for the smaller firms to look for alternative and non-ownership based governance structures. Based on the current knowledge on global factories, this kind of structure may suit the SME, which is also under pressure to be simultaneously globally efficient and locally responsive. Yet, given the limited empirical evidence, no definite conclusions can be drawn. It is obvious that a globally dispersed value network creates considerable managerial challenges for SMEs (cf. Mudambi & Venzin, 2010). SMEs with inexperienced managers inevitably lack the legal, social, and political discernment to operate abroad (Buckley, 1989). Consequently, many SME managers find it difficult to manage and expand the firms they have created, and only few of them wish to do so (Nummela, Puumalainen, & Saarenketo, 2005). In many cases this would require the development of a new dynamic capability (e.g., Teece, 2007; cf. Mudambi & Venzin, 2010). However, little is known about the kind of capability required for the successful management of a small global factory, for two main reasons. First, previous research on global factories has concentrated on the location and ownership strategies of MNEs, and second, thus far researchers have shown little interest in the obligations that the changed governance structure imposes on management. Therefore, this study addresses the following question: Which factors constitute the dynamic capability needed for managing a small global factory? The main contribution of the study is to the emerging research on the global factory. Most importantly, we propose that the novel governance structure is relevant and applicable to SMEs. Due to the differences between SMEs and MNEs, it is important to explore also the SME context to gain better understanding of the phenomenon. We also extend the use of the concept by applying an inside-out as opposed to the prevailing outside-in approach. This means that we examine the global factory from perspective internal to the firm. We collect primary empirical data within the small global factory and analyze it from the perspective of the focal SME. This is a significant deviation from earlier research, much of which is based on conceptual discussion or secondary data, and it enables the examination of the management factors that are important in the SME context, whereas previous research has maintained a distance and has not gone into the organization. The value of our approach is in gaining more holistic understanding of the global factory governance structure. Secondly, given that the creation of a global factory governance structure can be considered an entrepreneurial discovery (cf. Shane & Venkataraman, 2000), the study advances the theory of international entrepreneurship (IE). This is still a young research field (Jones, Coviello, & Tang, 2011), and studies examining internationally entrepreneurial firms with highly networked and globally dispersed organizations are rare. The few exceptions focus on micromultinationals,2 which are clearly not global factories as defined in this study. On the other hand, the period of post-entry internationalization has aroused little interest in IE research (Morgan-Thomas and Jones, 2009 and Prashantham and Young, 2011), and we believe our study brings out issues of relevance for the growth of international entrepreneurial companies.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
5.1. Contributions to the literature This study is to our knowledge the first to examine the emerging governance structure of global factory in the SME context. We have addressed the question of which factors constitute the dynamic capability needed for managing a small global factory governance structure, and consequently extend the literature on IB in general, and global factories in particular. Our case study indicates that reorganizing as a small global factory may help an SME to overcome some of the liabilities related to internationalization. We also found that multiple managerial and organizational factors contribute to the dynamic capability of managing such a factory. Organizational flexibility and absorptive capacity, together with managerial capabilities of interface competence and analytical capability are prerequisites for steering a successful small global factory. These capabilities build on top-management cognitive capabilities such as cultural awareness, an entrepreneurial orientation, and a global mindset. Our empirical data support the theory-based framework, but also reveals some new aspects. Cognitive capabilities form the basis of the framework because they are the source of opportunity identification in international expansion (Zahra, Korri, & Yu, 2005), and hence are vital. Cultural awareness and a global mindset enable and motivate key decision makers to recognize entrepreneurial opportunities and to act proactively on global markets, thus promoting an entrepreneurial orientation (Levy et al., 2007). We argue that cognitive capabilities foster dynamic capability and are thus essential in managing a well-functioning global factory. It should be noted that they are personal and change rather slowly, if at all. Even if the top-management team has these characteristics, without relevant managerial capabilities it cannot exploit the opportunities. Managerial capabilities build on the characteristics of the managers (Castanias & Helfat, 1991), and are essential for running the global factory successfully over time. As the findings from the case company demonstrate, analytical capability and interface competence seem to be deeply intertwined in that the former includes skills that also facilitate the coordination and management of the value network. Managerial capabilities are personal and expected to develop slowly, but it is possible to improve them through experiential learning (see Castanias & Helfat, 1991). Furthermore, the management of a complicated organization such as a global factory is not a task for top management alone, and requires input from all members of the value network. In order to preserve its competitive advantage the organization needs to reconfigure its capabilities in the turbulent environment and even build new ones (cf. Luo, 2000). Renewal and development are possible only if the firm possesses organizational capabilities such as flexibility and absorptive capacity. We argue that a sufficient level of absorptive capacity is a prerequisite for flexibility, which in the case of a small global factory refers to both the elasticity of organizational boundaries and adaptation to the turbulent environment (cf. Buckley, 2009b). In sum, we argue that all the three levels have significance – none of them would be sufficient alone – and that together they form the dynamic capability needed for the successful management of a small global factory. Furthermore, the elements of cognitive, managerial and organizational capabilities are proposed to be tightly intertwined, thus linking the three levels. As Fig. 1 shows, the cognitive capabilities of the managers form the basis for the dynamic capability. They are crucial attributes and are reflected in the way managers think and operate. Managerial capabilities, build on cognitive capabilities on the one hand, and on the other hand are prerequisites for organizational capabilities. All the three levels are therefore required in developing the dynamic capability of managing a small global factory. Based on the above discussion, we propose that: P1. Organizing as a small global factory increases the propensity to overcome the liabilities related to internationalization in SMEs. P2. Organizing as a small global factory successfully requires dynamic capability that constitute of specific individual-level (cognitive and managerial), and organizational-level capabilities in SMEs. P3. The cognitive capabilities of small global factory entrepreneurs and managers constitute of cultural awareness, entrepreneurial orientation, and global mindset. P4. The managerial capabilities of small global factory entrepreneurs and managers build on the cognitive capabilities, and constitute of interface competence and analytical capability. P5. The organizational capabilities of small global factory build on the two levels of individual-level capabilities (cognitive and managerial), and constitute of flexibility and absorptive capacity. This study adds to our conceptual knowledge of the global factory, and particularly of dynamic capabilities in the context of small global factories. The relevant discussion thus far does not acknowledge the possibility that an SME could adopt a global factory structure. Therefore, in arguing that an SME does have a role on the global level other than operating at the interstices between multinationals (Buckley, 2011) makes a novel contribution to the literature on global factories. 5.2. Implications for the managers Our results also have implications for entrepreneurs and managers willing to organize their businesses as small global factories. Our empirical study highlights the complexity of the dynamic capability required for successfully managing a small global factory: it is a combination of various individual and organizational factors that foster sensing and seizing opportunities and reconfiguration (Kogut and Zander, 1992, Teece, 2007 and Teece et al., 1997). This deeper understanding will be helpful to anyone conducting research on small global factories, and to managers engaged in this challenging task. From the managerial perspective, it is essential to recognize what kinds of qualities are needed in governing the internationally expanding SME operations. Knowledge of these issues is valuable for managers when they face the need to recruit new managerial resources to support the expanding operations. On the other hand, it was found important that there is diversity in the management team, because it introduces dynamics into the operations of the management team. Additionally, the notion of unlearning is also valuable for managers. It is important that they realize that in a flexible organization learning needs to be combined with letting go of the ways that do not function. Finally, managers also benefit from the insights on interface competence. It is crucial that they bear in mind the significance of understanding and acknowledging partners’ incentives. Those should be well aligned with the objectives of the focal firm in the small global factory. Furthermore, the study takes the theory of international entrepreneurship a step further in showing how internationally entrepreneurial firms could secure subsequent growth after entering international markets. However, we do not argue that the global factory is necessarily ‘the winning organizational structure’ of tomorrow. On the contrary, we have rather an open mind, and like Yamin (2011) believe that the vulnerability (due to network embeddedness and internal competition for resources) and the political aspects related to large global factories in particular will force companies to think very carefully about whether this is the right strategy for them. Unraveling the complexity of the dynamic capability that managing a small global factory in a turbulent environment requires should help SME managers to decide whether or not such a structure is their best option. 5.3. Limitations and future research Some limitations of our research need to be addressed. As with many other case studies in international business research, we cannot make any far-reaching claims about the generalizability and transferability of our results (cf. Piekkari et al., 2009). Nonetheless, theoretical generalization may be possible (cf. Eisenhardt, 1989 and Yin, 2009), although one should keep in mind that the empirical data was collected in an industry characterized by highly fragmented markets and public-sector customers, thus the findings may be context-sensitive. Moreover, given that the focus was on identifying and analyzing factors that contribute to the management of global factories in dynamic operating environments, it is not fully clear if the factors discussed are a consequence of working for a global factory or rather the premises on which to create one. These limitations also constitute opportunities for further research. First, a single case study is always just a glimpse through an open door and the broader view of the phenomenon remains unexplored. It would therefore be interesting to expand the study by collecting a more extensive data set, perhaps based on quantitative research methods. There are, nevertheless, special challenges in using global factories as research objects in quantitative studies. For one thing, such studies would require data collection on both organizational and managerial levels, as well as in different parts of the global value network. This could prove to be rather complex, time consuming and costly. Even the first step of the process–access – could prove to be problematic. Another issue to consider, as Buckley (2011) argues, is that every global factory is unique in terms of development, control and coordination, and management. Thus, an alternative to the traditional survey-based approach, such as a mixed-methods strategy, may be more appropriate. Secondly, it seems as if SMEs as research objects are becoming quite similar to MNEs (geographically dispersed differentiated networks (cf. Ghoshal & Bartlett, 1990)). It would be quite interesting to conduct a study comparing a small and a large global factory. Current knowledge gives no clues about whether the required dynamic capabilities differ, and it would be worthwhile exploring this. Both avenues are interesting and we hope our study will encourage other researchers to build on our framework.