تغییر استراتژیک و تغییر ساختار سازمانی: نحوه اقدامات تغییر مذاکره مدیران
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22144||2006||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9600 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of International Management, Volume 12, Issue 3, September 2006, Pages 284–301
This study examines the organizational changes and varied response amongst managers to those changes in seven subsidiaries of multinational apparel firms. Because of intensified competition from low wage economies, such firms have been forced to restructure production processes to heighten both their productive efficiency and attain greater flexibility at the plant level. Much of this change has involved the introduction of high performance work practices (HPWP), a central focus of much recent scholarship on post-Fordism. Drawing from several qualitative strategies, this paper focuses on the role of managers as agents of strategy implementation and discusses how they negotiate, accept or resist such changes. We describe the failure to implement HPWP as some firms seek efficiency gains from work restructuring rather than broader effectiveness goals that would have deepened employee participation. In doing so we theorise about structural impediments to organisational innovation, the operational constraints that render some managers change recipients rather than change agents, and what this might tell us about micro-political strategies within large organisations as key actors negotiate a new organisational reality.
As multi-national corporations (MNCs) in the manufacturing sector have faced increased market volatility, uncertainty and heightened competition since the 1980s, they have often come under pressure to restructure production facilities to improve operational performance. Ensuring organizational capabilities are appropriate to their strategic needs, many have changed, or attempted to change their internal operating structures to enhance quality and production flexibility. One set of recent changes has been the adoption of activities such as lean production, just-in-time techniques, TQM, and more collaborative links with suppliers and buyers; often referred to collectively as ‘high performance work practices’ (HPWP). Central to HPWP is the more efficient use of labour, accomplished through devolving greater decision-making power to line workers for creative problem solving. Such processes are increasingly seen as necessary if firms are to maintain a manufacturing presence in the face of sustained foreign competition, and in some industries, changes in supply chains relations that confer greater power to buyers (Wright and Lund, 2003). The extent to which these changes have been implemented and in what form are part of a broader debate on emerging forms of post-Fordist work organization (Appelbaum et al., 2000, Piore and Sabel, 1984, Osterman, 1994, Osterman, 2000 and Vallas, 1999). Clearly potentially global in nature, the new work structures not only reflect strategic changes by MNCs as they cope with dramatic changes in the competitive environment (Dicken, 1998), but also the extent to which differences in strategy implementation are a product of local plant specific conditions and contingencies. For many MNCs, changing operating structures can be fraught with implementation difficulties because of local environmental influences such as country-specific labour market practices, traditional work systems and cultural norms that solidify managerial prerogatives. For example, emphasizing the productive benefits of teamwork in a setting where worker individualism is pervasive and managers are reluctant to concede discretionary authority to workers can be a challenging experience. Nonetheless the underlying benefits of such new organization forms, and their strategic pre-eminence, has forced MNCs to press changes at the plant level. But as with many innovations, resistance to change often occurs when incumbents feel their positional authority within an organization is being challenged, especially if such changes are mandated by corporate headquarters that are distant from manufacturing sites. By examining what happens in MNC plants that are embedded in a specific industrial sector in one country setting, we can better understand how local managers accept, negotiate or resist the implementation of change strategies. Furthermore, when the change mandates might be ambiguously communicated or the principal actors (in this case senior managers) are given interpretation and implementation discretion, we can see what patterns of variation emerge and gain a better understanding of the micro-politics of organizational change. Previous research on change initiatives in manufacturing firms has shown how new work practices often remain temporary, or have been partially introduced, or done so within the framework of old operating principles (Appelbaum et al., 2000, Godard, 2004 and Ichniowski et al., 1996)). For example, instead of organisational innovations designed to improve operational effectiveness (of the type for example implied by HPWP), some firms seek mere efficiency gains that involve little systemic change. Effectiveness is here defined as procedures designed to sustain long-term operational performance in a wide range of activities (flexibility, productivity, quality and speed of throughout) and which can entail indirect cost savings. Efficiency meanwhile refers typically to (direct) cost lowering organisational changes that are often short term oriented and generally involve direct attempts to improve labour productivity. The focus of this paper is apparel manufacturing firms located in the USA, some of which are US owned and multi-national in scope1 and others subsidiaries of non-US MNCs. Given the heightened global competitive pressures in this industry, and how restructured work processes can be crucial to achieving competitive advantage, we explore variation in how senior managers have implemented change initiatives and whether there is a significant difference between US versus foreign owned firms. By assessing the crucial role that managers play as change agents, we theorise that outcomes can be best understood by evaluating the criteria which local managers use to frame the parameters of organizational changes, and the extent to which their actions are prefigured by structural constraints and any distinctive policies associated with ownership differences. How much discretion managers have in the implementation process would appear to influence whether they negotiate or resist changes and provide us with a framework for an analysis of the micro-politics of organizational change.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
A number of important points emerge from the above details. First, in both HPWP and non-HPWP settings, issues of coordination and control remained central managerial concerns but with varying responses. In the former, teamwork was seen as a way to formalize worker participation and broaden the ideological commitment of the workforce to production flexibility goals. In the non-HPWP firms, teamwork's function was to systematize compliance through peer pressure. By restructuring less skilled work tasks around team principles, managers found ways of intensifying the work effort whilst lowering requisite levels of supervision — a process not dissimilar to Barker's (1993) concept of concertive control, although additional cost lowering gains here are achieved through a reduction in supervisory staff. Productivity increases, with quality control measures embedded in group norms, provide firms with coping strategies for the contingent market uncertainty they face. Second, non-HPWP firms were more likely to have retained hierarchical management ideologies, albeit with production systems that embrace team concepts and sometimes permit the illusion of participative practices. Despite a reduction in supervisory staff, managers retained explicit oversight and continued to rely upon work routinization, as well as using outsourcing, to achieve cost and flexibility benefits that are no longer possible in-house. The model found here is similar to Appelbaum and Batt's (1994) notion of flexible mass production, a hybridization where firms retain extant organizational and power structures while seeking flexibility through outsourcing and less dedicated and flexible technology. In such an arrangement, it is not surprising that workers might not benefit as Godard (2004) argues is often the case when change occurs. Third, HPWP firms were capitalizing upon changes in buyer–supplier relationships and viewed their own restructuring as an opportunity for better coordination and lowered transaction costs. This is certainly consistent with studies that point to inter-organizational benefits when different functional parties in the production value chain become fully integrated (Bresnen, 1996) and would reinforce managerial commitment to change since it is directly beneficial to them. In contrast, non-HPWP firms were more likely to see such changes in a negative light, with the perception that benefits accrue mostly to powerful buyers (retailers) in the value chain. Furthermore, managerial pre-occupation with cost minimization and short-term operational efficiency belie broader organizational constraints that impose operational logics because of resource limitations. Under short-term pressures to cut costs, team-work predicated upon work intensification is logical and probably not sub-optimal for non-HPWP firms — and plant managers clearly recognised this. That incomplete transition to new production systems is evident is not in itself remarkable since earlier studies revealed a propensity for compromise as firms adapted new procedures to fit extant organizational forms (flexible mass production) ( Appelbaum and Batt, 1994 and Godard, 2004) or outsourced segments of the manufacturing process to low wage areas overseas in a form of global Fordism ( Dicken, 1998). But what this research shows is how the variance of firm responses is a function of how much discretion managers are given in the strategy implementation process as well as the level of company wide commitment to change. The latter is not surprising but the former is quite instructive. Managers implement changes in response to broader strategic imperatives conceived by senior management, but in doing so, balance external constraints with internal workplace values and shared meanings. The resulting modus operandi reflects the broader corporate culture and provides parameters that either explicitly or implicitly script the change process. Since a low-wage, low skilled competitive model has been virtually institutionalized in this industry in the United States, it is perhaps not surprising that many managers will continue to think in these terms when they determine organizational change, particularly if they believe HQ endorses this viewpoint. As HPWP implicitly rest upon a high-skilled, multi-tasked workforce in a setting where participation, cooperation and de-centralized decision-making are normative, such a workplace is antithetical to most established industry practices. Perhaps the pervasiveness of Taylorist ideologies in the industry explains why those firms that did introduce HPWP did so with a structured determination that imposed operational plans upon plant managers, limiting the latter's opportunistic behaviour. And that two of the three firms were foreign owned and thus less constrained by local behavioural norms. Managers in these firms received changes to implement but then were able to recognise measurable firm benefits that consolidated their status and financial stability. But their choices of action were ultimately curtailed. In the other type of firms, managers were able to behave as more independent change agents and restructured the workplace to maximise short-term efficiency gains. Here their actions reflected greater uncertainty and they relied upon proven practices that rewarded them financially and in terms of institutional security. Since their, and the company's, definition of operational efficiency remains strictly productivity and cost-based, they embed work practices in hierarchical structures that are self fulfilling in terms of meeting short-term financial utility. Their behaviour is less an indication of risk aversion, as many studies posit, as it is a rational and pragmatic reflection of an operational logic that has served them well in the past. One could infer that managers in both sets of firms think the same; but that the HPWP managers had less discretion and therefore behaved differently. This is an intriguing thought and not one that can be easily refuted. But one had a strong sense when talking with managers in HPWP firms that they recognised the benefits of the implemented changes and saw them as crucially part of the requisite alignment of operational practices with changed market conditions. This was palpably not the case when talking with managers in non-HPWP firms. For the latter, organizational change continues to be seen through the lens of a resource scarce environment, with managers maximising short-term interests and preserving existing power relations as an individual and organizational survival strategy. The micro-politics surrounding such resistance to change and its shaping to meet operational contingencies are not disruptive since such managers retain the hierarchical authority within plants to establish change agendas. But they are indicative of the often subtle ways in which managers can manipulate and interpret information to justify their sometimes self-serving actions. Further research on whether operational differences between US versus foreign owned MNCs are more substantial than this study has revealed is needed. But despite such limitations, we have shown how attempts to align strategic change with operational re-structuring can have different outcomes that have much to do with management agency. It also shows how resilient extant management practices can be in the face of organizational changes, especially when managers remain circumspect of the overall strategic intent and corporate commitment to it. Old habits die hard, but in some firms their obituaries have yet to be written.