تاثیر تسلط شخصی بر عملکرد سازمانی از طریق یادگیری سازمانی و نوآوری در شرکت های بزرگ و SMEs
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3985||2007||22 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 27, Issue 9, September 2007, Pages 547–568
This paper analyzes the influences of personal mastery on organizational performance, both directly and indirectly through the dynamic capabilities of organizational learning and innovation. Although these indirect interrelations are very important for improving organizational performance, they are not usually explored in research. We confirm these influences empirically in both large firms and SMEs, basing our research on a sample of 401 Spanish firms. The results reveal that in both types of firms: (1) personal mastery influences organizational performance directly and indirectly through organizational learning and innovation; (2) organizational learning influences organizational performance positively, both directly and indirectly through organizational innovation; (3) organizational innovation influences organizational performance positively.
This research seeks to analyze several influences on organizational performance in both large firms and small and medium enterprises (SMEs): first, how personal mastery influences organizational performance positively, not only directly but also indirectly through organizational learning and innovation; secondly, how organizational learning affects organizational performance positively, both directly and indirectly through innovation; and thirdly, how innovation influences organizational performance positively. In today's knowledge society, personal mastery (personal and professional development), organizational learning and innovation are three key capabilities that enable the firm to identify, create, exploit, renew, and apply knowledge flows in new ways to obtain improvement in organizational performance (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). Managing these capabilities effectively can provide firms with a source of sustainable competitive advantage, since these capabilities are usually valuable, rare and difficult to imitate or replace (Barney, 1991; Grant, 1996). Personal mastery is the capability to grow and learn on a personal level. It concentrates on the aspects of learning in the learning organization that belong to the individual. It enables us to delve deeper into our personal vision, into what we truly desire, concentrating all our efforts on developing our personal and professional skills and capabilities (Senge, 1990; Senge et al., 1994). Firms should produce wealth but should also enable personal development and values in the firm's human resources (e.g., workers, middle management, upper management), as these are the foundation and starting point of all entrepreneurial competencies (Senge et al., 1994). Organizational learning is the firm's capability to maintain or improve performance based on experience. This activity involves the acquisition of explicit and tacit knowledge (development or creation of skills, insights, relationships), knowledge sharing (dissemination to others of what has been acquired by some), and knowledge use (integration of learning so that it is assimilated and broadly available and can be generalized to new situations) (Dibella et al., 1996). Such learning facilitates behavioral change that leads to improved performance (Fiol and Lyles, 1985; Senge, 1990). Senge (1990, p. 3) notes that ‘we can then build this learning organization when people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire’; in other words, their personal mastery is encouraged. The dynamics of mastery and organizational learning are inseparable. From this newly learned knowledge, innovation capability generates a base for the improvement of organizational performance (Hurley and Hult, 1998; Larsen et al., 1991). Among the different definitions of innovation that have been proposed (Dooley and O’Sullivan, 2003; Knight, 1967; Pierce and Delbecq, 1977; Zaltman et al., 1973), this study will use the definition of innovation given by the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA, 2004): a new idea, method, or device. The act of creating a new product or process. The act includes invention as well as the work required to bring an idea or concept into final form. This capability is closely linked to organizational learning and personal mastery (Leonard-Barton, 1992; Senge, 1990). The most innovative firms are effective learning systems where human resources are developed and where firms learn to maintain today's competitive advantages while aggressively preparing for tomorrow. Firms that foster these capabilities are widely described as firms that improve organizational performance. However, many firms do not or cannot develop capabilities properly, for they focus on direct effects and forget the indirect interrelations between these capabilities. Although these indirect influences are very important, research often neglects them. Our study seeks to address the need to investigate how personal mastery influences performance through organizational learning and innovation; and how organizational learning influences performance through organizational innovation. Only so can we enable the organizational synergy between them. We seek to confirm that these capabilities are necessary in both large firms and SMEs. Because large-firm management is fundamentally different from that of SMEs, conclusions drawn from many studies cannot be applied to SMEs without empirical confirmation. Other problems arise concerning the accurate measurement of personal mastery, innovation and organizational learning in SMEs. This fact highlights the need for research that uses both large firms and SMEs to generate new ideas concerning the impact of these variables on business performance and the interrelations between them. Finally, we should emphasize the fundamental role of the CEOs’ perceptions of these strategic variables in stimulating organizational performance. CEOs play a major role in informing and molding these variables by determining the types of behavior that are expected and supported (Baer and Frese, 2003). Although numerous actors may be involved in the management process, the CEO is ultimately responsible for plotting the firm's direction and plans, as well as for guiding the actions undertaken to achieve them (Westhpal and Fredrickson, 2001). Therefore, the CEO's perception of personal mastery, organizational learning and innovation is fundamental to encouraging these capabilities. To make sense of the complex environment surrounding them, CEOs tend to form simplified internal cognitive representations (mental models). Using these models, CEOs focus on certain variables that they judge to be critical. They make decisions and measure performance or innovation based on these variables (Porac and Thomas, 1990). This article is divided into several sections. Section 2 introduces the background research and suggests a series of hypotheses in a global model. Section 3 presents the data and the method used to achieve an empirical analysis of the hypotheses developed in Section 2 using Spanish firms. Section 4 presents the results obtained. Section 5 discusses the results. Finally, Section 6 outlines the implications for research and practices and points out some limitations of this study and directions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This investigation has enabled us to confirm empirically the direct and indirect impact (through organizational learning and organizational innovation) of personal mastery on organizational performance in both large firms and SMEs. Prior research has focused mainly on large firms and direct effects, with few empirical contributions that contrast indirect influences in both kinds of firms. Both kinds of firms have some advantages due to their respective sizes that enable the development of personal mastery and the direct and indirect improvement of performance. While large firms have greater economic resources and more time to face challenges or substantial budgets that can foster personal mastery (Kerr and McDougall, 1999), SMEs benefit from flexibility and innovativeness (Argyris and Schön, 1996; Chen and Hambrick, 1995; Fiegenbaum and Karnani, 1991; Yu, 2001; Senge et al., 1994). We should thus analyze the level at which the CEO perceives personal mastery and achieves the involvement of the firm's management, independently of firm size, to create a work environment that enables members to feel committed to their firm and their personal mastery (Larsen et al., 2002). This fosters organizational learning and innovation, instruments that enable improvement in the knowledge, capabilities and competencies of the firm's members and the improvement of organizational performance (Hodge et al., 1998). Nevertheless, the human resources of large firms and SMEs are not usually treated as if they were the most important capital in firms. This may occur because a considerable number of CEOs are experts at administrating technical and financial capital but have not yet learned to administrate intellectual capital. Long-term competitive advantage is the result of exploiting the different central capacities of abilities and tangible and intangible assets, but intangible resources and knowledge grant strategic success in the current economy (Roos and Roos, 1997). We therefore need a drastic change in how CEOs view administration of the firm (large firm or SME). CEOs must recognize that the greatest part of the value accumulated in the products and services derives from knowledge and intelligence, that is, from the personal development of the members of the firm (personal mastery). CEOs with the capacity to understand these new premises will develop organizational competitive advantages, while those who ignore them will be at a clear disadvantage (Argyris and Schön, 1996; Senge et al., 1994). This means that the CEO should possess and stimulate a series of traits in the current Information and Knowledge Society to stimulate personal mastery. Among the recommendations we derive from this research, we would first emphasize that the CEO should be a good designer of the firm's structure, which involves the functions of evaluation of the firm's members and needs; design of policies, strategies and systems appropriate to each time and place; and design of learning and innovation processes that improve these policies, strategies and structures continuously (Senge et al., 1994). This last function requires considerable technical knowledge to analyze, modify and simulate the behavior of complex human systems (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995; Stata, 1989). However, it is not easy to achieve this function correctly when most CEOs have reached their positions due to their ability to make decisions and solve problems rather than their capacity to instruct and teach others (Senge, 1990; Senge et al., 1994). This recommendation implies that firms should foster the creation of a personnel development area in the organization, since if they have human capital with a high degree of personal mastery they will achieve greater organizational performance. However, unlike large firms, many SMEs do not have an internal personnel development area due to lack of time or resources. They should, however, at least stimulate a commitment to personal mastery from management and personnel, thus facilitating the acquisition, dissemination and implementation of the knowledge needed to improve the competences, knowledge and ability of the organization's members (Senge et al., 1994). Second, CEOs should act on individual mental models and achieve shared mental models. Mental models are like cognitive mental maps that enable us to observe the complex environments of our world. These maps are extremely useful, due to the guides and opportunities that they allow us to produce (Nicolini, 1999). Shared mental models will enable an increase in the firm's capability to obtain sustainable competitive advantages based on organizational learning and innovation and on using the resources and capacities provided by the firm's size (Argyris and Schön, 1996). The process of analyzing individual mental models and achieving shared mental models is achieved more easily in SMEs than in large firms, where there is greater complexity due to the organization's size (Argyris and Schön, 1996; Senge et al., 1994). Third, the CEO should be a good mentor, that is, should be able to guide others in their career paths. The CEO should support the growth of all people who form part of the firm through faith in their capacity to learn and innovate. He or she should know how to motivate, teach and involve others in a common project (Smith, 1997). This means that planning of professional careers with good training should be initiated. It is essential that SMEs do this as well, but in many cases they do not. It is thus necessary to identify the possible courses for personal development within the organization and establish efficient internal communication about the personal and professional trajectories possible within the firm, such that all employees know their possibilities for development within the organization (García-Morales, 2004). Fourth, the CEO should challenge the firm with goals. The more challenging the goal we face, the greater the acceleration in learning and innovation, as people need challenges to learn and innovate. These challenges are usually greater in large firms. If a challenge produces an error, the CEO should help the employee to learn from the mistake (Guns, 1996). Fifth, the CEO should make decisions and carry out actions, but only after having dedicated time to reflecting, developing mental models and designing learning processes from these actions (Senge, 1990). Sixth and finally, the CEO should promote shared vision. In intelligent firms, CEOs are beginning to stop focusing on their own visions and to recognize that their personal vision forms part of a larger whole influenced by the visions of others, thereby creating a shared vision that provides a vehicle through which the firm's members commit themselves to the firm. In theory, it is easier to take into account all visions in SMEs than in large firms, where there are many individuals and stakeholders to consider (Senge et al., 1994). Independent of size, CEOs should act from a conviction that their efforts will produce more productive firms capable of achieving greater personal satisfaction and levels of organizational success higher than traditional ones (Kofman and Senge, 1993). We have also verified empirically that organizational learning influences both large firms and SMEs, directly and indirectly through innovation in organizational performance. Organizational learning influences the organizational performance of both kinds of firms, primarily directly (Argyris and Schön, 1996; Fiol and Lyles, 1985; Garvin, 1993; Hurley and Hult, 1998; Senge et al., 1994) but also indirectly in innovative activities (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995; Senge et al., 1994). While organizational learning in large firms is favored by factors such as having more resources at their disposal or better networks that enable them to learn or innovate inter-organizationally (McEvily and Zaheer, 1999; McGill and Slocum, 1993; Yli-Renko et al., 2001), SMEs benefit from other characteristics, such as their increased ability to detect errors and learn from them, possession of a greater affinity for the values and style of leadership that favour learning, and development of structures that make communication and knowledge transfer easier or make it easier to share experience, learning and innovation among their members. SMEs also adjust more easily and can maintain a closer relationship with clients, which gives them more opportunities for feedback and learning (Argyris and Schön, 1996; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995; Senge et al., 1994). The CEO should be openly committed to learning. He or she should be a catalyst, driving and putting forth all that is necessary to overcome internal skepticism and external difficulties. In SMEs, his or her actions are observed more closely than in large firms. This leader should demonstrate commitment to learning capacity, whether by converting it into a central element of his or her strategic intention, investing in and speaking publicly of it, trying to measure it or creating symbols of learning. The CEO should eliminate negative group dynamics that impede learning and instill positive dynamics that nurture collaborative learning. If the firm's own leader is not committed to learning, it will create a wave of cynicism in the firm (Maani and Benton, 1999). In this process of openness to learning, the CEO should succeed in changing and in causing the firm and other members to change. For learning in large firms and SMEs, it is thus necessary for CEOs to have a strong commitment, this being one of their most important dissemination tasks in the learning process on all levels of the firm. One way to develop a learning organization is to ensure that the managers who are well-disposed toward learning are in decisive positions (Swieringa and Wierdsma, 1992). This means that organizations should constantly foster the presence of a chief knowledge officer or chief learning officers, although this occurs much more in large firms due to their economic capacity. However, SMEs must become aware of the need to have such professionals, as this enables them to take advantage of their greater flexibility to face and learn from different market needs, adapting more quickly to the variations in client preferences. It also fosters greater capacity in SMEs to improve and perfect products developed by large firms (García-Morales, 2004). On the other hand, the CEO should constitute an integrating link between the different processes of cycles of learning. He or she should integrate the operating cycle, that is, learning in the area of operations in the large firm or SME, which makes it possible to detect and correct discrepancies between the results planned and obtained (adaptive learning), and the policy cycle, which is proactive learning on the highest hierarchical level of the firm (generative learning) and which involves a restructuring of the context in which the firm's activity develops. CEOs should be the key integrating mechanism among the different processes to construct a firm with the capacity to learn. In SMEs, these processes are more unified, and it is easier to achieve their integration (Garratt, 1987; Senge et al., 1994). Further, the CEO should encourage continuity, commitment, capacity, contribution, collaboration and consciousness with respect to organizational learning. Learning should be continuous, that is, a permanent phenomenon that never ends. This requires the creation of a corporate culture that stimulates the process of continuous learning. Moving toward an intelligent firm also requires that people commit themselves personally, creating a community of learning, since without communities of committed people there will be no opportunity for real change. We should generate processes directed toward improving the capacity, or the aptitudes, for knowledge and the characteristics to renew and reinvent ourselves. We must also emphasize contributions; that is, we should permit different people to contribute to creating the intelligent organization, using all of the talent of each of the firm's members. There should be strong collaboration between all of the members of the entity, as this develops teamwork and personal relationships. Lastly, there is—or should be—conscience, certain values and guiding principles in the firm (Senge et al., 1994). Finally, we confirmed empirically the influence of innovation on performance in large firms (Damanpour, 1992; Nystrom et al., 2002). Large firms have scale economies, greater resources, learning curve economies, large R&D laboratories, time and resources for external science and technology networks, synergy and access to greater external capital (Damanpour, 1992; Nystrom et al., 2002; Vossen, 1998). These characteristics favour innovation and improvement in organizational performance. In SMEs, innovation also influences performance, but this relationship is stimulated by flexibility, shorter and faster decision chains, less bureaucratic inertia, market niches, R&D efficiency, greater capacity for customization and greater motivation of their employees (Damanpour, 1992; Vossen, 1998). The relative strengths of large firms lie mostly in resources and are predominantly material (e.g. economies of scale and scope, financial and technological resources, and so on), while those of SMEs are generally argued in terms of behavioral characteristics (e.g. entrepreneurial dynamism, flexibility, efficiency, proximity to the market, motivation). In innovative activities that require large, modern laboratories, large firms clearly prevail. However, in design or improvements in design, imitation, and development of new products, smaller firms usually have innovation advantages over large firms (Drucker, 1986). Thus, there are arguments in favour of both large firms and SMEs with regard to innovations and improvement of organizational performance. It would be a mistake to assume that innovation and its ability to improve organizational performance are solely the competence of large firms (Damanpour, 1992). The CEO's support for innovation is critical both within the firm (large firm and SME) and outside. Within the firm, the CEO's work focuses on the creation of a context that favors innovation and organizational learning. Outside the firm, one must consider a series of cultural contributions and resources that society provides and that affect innovation (Van de Ven, 1986). The CEO should play a crucial role as the link between the firm and its environment, from which he or she must achieve acceptance (from consumers, clients and other interest groups) and support (resources, knowledge, laws) for innovation (Van de Ven, 1993). Those responsible for firms should begin to define innovation as intelligent risk-taking that requires the use of appropriate tools (Wigston, 1994). Innovation is a leap into the unknown. Errors and setbacks can occur in the innovative pathway. But detecting, confronting, learning from and overcoming these setbacks will generate a significant tradition of learning in the firm, creating professionals in the management of innovation (Drucker, 1986). CEOs can do much to prepare the minds of their firm, but we must emphasize that innovation is not an individual but a collective achievement. Considerable work is required to create a context that encourages and motivates innovation, a context that legitimates innovative behavior, dedicates resources to innovation and assumes the structure and culture that nurture and nourish the development and implementation of innovation (Senge et al., 1994; Van de Ven, 1993). If we differentiate between SMEs and large firms, we will see that SMEs have more difficulty performing innovations, which implies the need for different actions on the part of the CEO. The CEO should encourage more fluid internal communication, a structure that enables faster adaptation of results obtained through research and greater care in the use and purpose of investment share, as resources are usually scarcer than in large firms. Further, in SMEs we can foster specialization, that is, the development of specific capacities in certain technical areas, as they attend to smaller but very sophisticated markets, which stimulates innovative activity. We can also develop cooperative industrial relations with other firms, stimulating innovation in SMEs. The CEO in large firms should stimulate the presence of structures that take advantage of scale economies and learning curve economies, generating significant external science and technology networks. He or she should create synergies that enable optimal use of the professional and skilled workers (Damanpour, 1992; Nystrom et al., 2002; Vossen, 1998).