سیستم های کار در رشته مهندسی سنگین: نقش فرهنگ ملی و نهاد های ملی در شرکت های چند ملیتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22118||2004||22 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10795 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of International Management, Volume 10, Issue 2, 2004, Pages 177–198
This paper is based on an Anglo-German research project of two research groups in both countries. It is based on data collected by qualitative research in the three largest multinational corporations (MNCs) in the lift and escalator industry. The headquarters (HQs) of the three corporations are based in the United States, Finland and Germany, respectively, and all three MNCs each have subsidiaries in Germany and Britain. Our main objects of analysis were change processes in the work systems of these three MNCs. We chose the lift and escalator industry as an example because it has been characterized by strong concentration processes during the last 10 years. Most of these corporations have grown by acquisition and there are strong tendencies in the market towards standardized, globally uniform products. National cultures and institutions, first of all play a role on the HQ level. Important areas were the standardization of products and production technology, the design of management systems and location and relocation decisions for R&D and manufacturing. Second, MNCs take differences in national cultures into account and deliberately “use” them in allocating resources and investment within the multinational group. National cultures and institutions massively shape the very formulation of manufacturing strategies within the multinational groups, as well as the R&D strategies—a particular important field in an industry still relying heavily on small-batch and unit production. National cultures also play a significant role in implementing the global strategies of MNCs in different host countries. Our data reveal striking differences on this level.
The effect of globalization on business has been subject of a controversial debate among management scholars (Child, 2000). Some argue that worldwide homogenous economic and technological rationales lead to a more or less worldwide standardization of organizational structures and processes. This view coincides and has been strongly encouraged by a considerable bias on evolutionary concepts, which dominated theory building in the field of the multinational business organization in the last two decades, the most prominent example still being the “transnational solution” (Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1989, pp. 66–71). This view, however, has become increasingly under scrutiny because it neglects the fact that business organizations still differ remarkably from country to country and region to region. It is argued here that global organizational strategies and processes are significantly shaped by concrete national environments, and that the unified, globally harmonized and standardized organization clearly is a myth and an oversimplified perception of a generally more complex reality Doremus et al., 1998 and Ruigrok and Van Tulder, 1995. This paper acknowledges the forces and constraints of the globalization process and its manifestation within multinational corporations (MNCs) while at same time contending, that the development as well as the implementation of globalization strategies is significantly shaped and influenced by the respective national culture and institutions. The paper looks at the role of national culture and institutions for MNCs on two different levels. We assume that national cultures and institutions, first of all, play a role on the HQ level in designing and implementing global strategies. Second, national cultures play a significant role in implementing the global strategies of MNCs in different host countries.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Returning to our central research question about the role of the national cultural and institutional framework for the globalization strategies of MNCs, our case studies suggest a number of conclusions. Generally speaking, all case studies provide ample evidence of an ‘ongoing process of rationalization’ and ‘continuous globalizing’ (Mueller and Loveridge, 1997, p. 152) in the lift and escalator sector. However, globalization has not led to the establishment of change management strategies towards single-standard work-system patterns across national institutional borders. Our research indicates, first of all, that global rationalization patterns and policies of work system design are influenced by national institutions and sector specialization. The comparison of German and British subsidiaries shows that the global policies of HQ, such as the development of global products, global manufacturing strategies as well as the implementation of ‘best practices’ or international accounting systems, have not led to convergent change management patterns at the subsidiary level. It follows that national business systems explain different patterns of work-system design in British and German subsidiaries. Thus, in Britain, in the terms of Whitley (1997), because of weak labor market institutions, strong academic stratification and the lesser degree of integration of R&D and manufacturing functions within the work system, CMPs were much more straightforward and radical compared to the German cases (e.g., Amy, Karl–Heinz). With regard to the German subsidiaries, we would contend that globalization does not automatically undermine the key institutions of a highly integrated business system, such as the German's. This view however has recently been a subject of controversy (see, e.g., Mueller and Loveridge, 1997 and Lane, 2000). As Quack et al. (1999, p. 47) point out, certain patterns of sector specialization which have been established historically are likely to last regardless of the strength of globalization. However, this seems to be sector specific in Germany (Schmidt and Williams, 2002). While some identify an erosion of national institutions through globalization in the German automobile industry sector (Quack et al., 1999), others provide evidence of lasting institutional idiosyncrasies: thus, Tempel refers to the case of a British MNC in the pharmaceutical and chemical sector, which decided to circumvent Germany and to invest in other countries because of the constraining nature of the industrial relations (Tempel, 2002). A second conclusion would be that, neither do global policies of HQ determine strategies of host country subsidiaries work deterministically nor are work systems pattern entirely shaped by the societal context. It can be assumed that local managers have some degree of strategic choice to develop distinct change management approaches even in the same national business system. Thus, the fact that Jukka is the only example in the lift and escalator sector that has still significant manufacturing facilities in the UK, neither can be fully explained by the global strategy of the company nor is the work system reflecting typical national institutional patterns. Thus, national effects do not cause isomorphism of identical organizational forms, but allow different managerial change strategies of companies in the same sector and society. That brings us to Sorge's (1995) distinction between identical and nonidentical reproduction of work systems: the nonidentical pattern of Jukka UK towards manufacturing, compared to the other two British subsidiaries, can be better explained by the company's history, developed under its former German mother (now Jukka/Germany). In this case, the company's specific engineering culture was and is still heavily influenced by the German counterpart. However, at the same time, the work systems of the Jukka subsidiaries in Germany and the UK still represent distinct national patterns in terms of structure, employment relations and qualification of managers and employees. Thirdly, we have seen that the more work systems are interlocked with national business systems, the more they are unlikely to alter and change radically (see, e.g., Grabher, 1993, Schienstock, 1997, Whitley, 1999 and Ferner and Varul, 2000). Karl–Heinz Germany is a very prominent example in our sample to explain this thesis. The subsidiary is situated in the industrial district of Baden–Württemberg (see also Schienstock, 1997). Compared to the other German cases, this company had the most integrated work systems design and followed the most distinct business strategy of diversified quality production by combining cost leadership and differentiation (Porter, 1980). However, an Anglo-German comparison of work-system design at the subsidiary level shows significance of this lock-in effect. Given the global logic of Karl–Heinz, which is, contrarily to the other two MNCs, targeting the higher customized market segment, the company has a highly integrated, multifunctional and flexible specialized work system in Germany with less separation of worker and management functions and a high amount of worker's participation in local decision-making processes. Contrarily, in the British case, we found a weakly integrated work system mainly focused on regional customer service with strict separation between management and workers and a rather authoritarian management hierarchy. This leads to a final conclusion. Our research seems to endorse recent criticism of the evolutionary framework (Westney and Zaheer, 2001, p. 369f). We did not find much evidence that national culture and business-system patterns lost their significance in the change of work systems. Applying the evolutionary framework of “organizational characteristics of the transnational” (Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1989, p. 65) to our cases, on the one extreme, there is the case of the “global company” Amy. Here, we would expect a significant amount of convergent and homogeneous business practices. However, looking at the work systems and the change processes on the level in its German subsidiary, we find a nearly textbook-like “German” company. It appears to us that the more globalized the strategies and structures of a MNC are, the more it allows for and relies on national specifics to play a key role in its global portfolio of national subsidiaries. From this perspective, one could even argue that globalization policies ultimately reinforce the importance of different national contexts (Sorge, 2000). National business-system patterns become visible when local managers at Amy UK gave reasons as to why they were relieved to get rid of their low-performing manufacturing units and focus their business strategy wholly on service and sales functions. Furthermore, the structuring of the work system of the German counterpart subsidiary and their relatively powerful position rely on German business-system patterns. Its increased geographical responsibilities (such as in Eastern Europe) and its strong position in strategic tasks of the MNC as a whole can be clearly related to the German institutional context. On the other side of the spectrum, there is a company, such as Karl–Heinz, which—again in reference to Bartlett and Ghoshal's (1989, p. 65) framework—could be labelled as a “multinational company” and would appear as a rather laid back, decentralized organization dominated by its specific national background and local opportunities. The analysis of Karl–Heinz's operations in the UK, however, reveals a highly flexible, innovative organization efficiently adapting to the local specifics of the market and focusing on high-quality upmarket products and services. One would not expect the potential for innovative change processes on the work-system level in such an MNC that—following traditional categorizations in the literature—would be regarded as a rather inefficient, outdated organizational structure. Instead, our data lead us to argue that the organizational design of the Karl–Heinz and, especially, its German subsidiary, significantly reflects the German business-system patterns. Thus, the strong strategic orientation of the lift and escalator division of the German MNC towards the customized competitive quality market segment, to which not only the German, but also the British subsidiary is committed, shows significantly its institutional origins. In this sense, it is no surprise that it is not the American MNC, which is the leader in this upper market segment, but the German MNC. Moreover, the highly decentralized governance structure of the MNC not only permits the British plant to be very British in its work-system design, but undoubtedly allows the German counterpart to operate as a German textbook-case company with craft-type and rather product- than market-led work systems and highly skilled and professional managers Warner and Campbell, 1993, Vitols, 2001 and Wood, 2001. In the middle of this spectrum, we would position Jukka where one might see the strongest trend towards a real global convergence of organizationwide work systems. Nevertheless, our case study shows that even the strong organizational implementation of the global standards is by no means an independent, deterministic effect. It faces strong resistance from constraints based on the history of the company (UK) or effects based on the national business system (Germany). It is an open point in which direction the strong standardization strategy of Jukka will finally move the MNC. We would thus argue that national culture and institutions still matter and are important to understand strategic management processes in MNCs' in sectors, such as the lift and escalator industry. It is evident that despite an increasing orientation of management elites in this sector on globalization strategies, national patterns of work-system design in German and British subsidiaries of MNCs are longer lived and more deeply entrenched than one would superficially expect.