انعطاف پذیری - بهره وری مبادله و مفاهیم عملکرد در میان بنگاههای دولتی چین
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4148||2010||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 63, Issue 4, April 2010, Pages 356–362
This paper examines performance implications of the flexibility–efficiency tradeoff in the turbulent environment. We test the relationship between resource utilization and firm performance among the Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) during China's economic transformation. The study finds that (1) overall efficiency enhances performance; (2) different measures of efficiency all exhibit curvilinear relationship with performance; and (3) differences exist between high efficiency and low efficiency subgroups of firms. The results reveal that efficiency as well as flexibility has a positive impact on firm performance only within a certain range. Beyond a certain point, the cost of maintaining flexibility overwhelms the benefit, causing performance to decline.
The tradeoff between flexibility and efficiency has been called a central paradox of administration (Thompson, 1967). Traditional wisdom usually treat the competing needs for efficiency and flexibility as two opposite ends of a spectrum: while efficiency asks for maximizing output from given input by making best use of existing resources (Ghemawat and Costa, 1993); flexibility requires a firm to timely reposition itself with respect to future changes by reconfiguring its competences (Carlsson, 1989). Since efficiency and flexibility compete over a firm's scarce resources, the firm pursuing both will become stuck in the middle (Porter, 1980) and suffer inferior performance. Managers need to choose either efficiency-oriented or flexibility-oriented strategy, but not both (Abernathy, 1978). More recently, as today's ever-changing environment often challenges firms to simultaneously perform exploitative and explorative activities, researchers have started questioning the necessity of the tradeoff (Ferdows and De Meyer, 1990) and exploring the possibility of attaining both superior efficiency and flexibility (Adler et al., 1999). Empirical evidence in this regard is, however, inconclusive. It remains unclear how either efficiency or flexibility alone, or together, affects a firm's performance in a turbulent environment. How should a firm strategically allocate its resources to meet the dual challenge of operating both flexibly and efficiently? What specific type of resource will enable a firm to perform ambidextrously (Duncan, 1976)? To answer these questions, this paper borrows insights from both the resource-based view (RBV) and the dynamic capabilities approach (DCA), two dominant theories in strategic management. We observe that RBV and DCA need to be joined in examining the flexibility–efficiency tradeoff in turbulent environments, because dynamic capabilities should be built upon certain resources. We situate our research on the Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) from 1996 to 1997. We choose this research setting because the Chinese SOEs, previously plagued by inefficiency, were challenged to meet the demands for both efficiency and flexibility during this turbulent period as China transformed itself towards a market economy. This paper is organized as follows: firstly, we examine the flexibility–efficiency tradeoff from the perspectives of RBV and DCA; secondly, we present the results found in the Chinese transitional economy; finally, we discuss the implication for future research based on the empirical results.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Overall, the results suggest that the flexibility-oriented resources are essentially different from the efficiency-oriented ones. As a result, efficiency/flexibility at the firm level has multiple dimensions and should be measured as a multidimensional construct. Results based on single dimensional measure are confounded by resources which affect efficiency/flexibility differently. Among different measures of resource efficiency, some have the same performance-enhancing effect as the overall efficiency (e.g. retained earnings), while others have opposite effect (i.e. inventory). The contradictory results from different measures reveal that whether resources enhance performance in turbulent environments depends on the degree to which the resource has been absorbed into production process. Organizational resources will not have a performance-enhancing effect unless they are liquid resources so that they are readily available to offer managerial discretion and consequently strategic flexibility.This study clearly shows that firms cannot achieve high performance without maintaining organizational efficiency. A certain level of efficiency is a “hygiene” factor for any firm to be healthy. Only when such basic hygiene is in place can flexibility be a beneficial factor. Inefficient firms, even in China's transitional economy, risk deteriorating performance. A firm's survival will be in danger without efficiency, let along benefiting from strategic flexibility and exploring new opportunities. However, there seems to be an “optimal” level of resource utilization. In order to achieve the optimal outcome, a firm must balance both the benefit and the cost of flexibility (Sharfman et al., 1988). One consistent finding of this study is that the relationship between different measures of efficiency and performance is not a simple linear curve but resembles a curvilinear pattern. Using multiple measures of efficiency/flexibility, we find mixed evidence that efficiency and flexibility both can have performance-enhancing or value-destroying effects within certain range. There is no absolute advantage or liability and the key is to determine the “optimal” level. Essentially, at some point, the performance-enhancing benefit of efficiency/flexibility will be overwhelmed by the cost, and performance will start to decline. The study find evidence that for firms in a rapidly changing environment, within a certain range, flexibility afforded by more liquid resources is more likely to become a source of competitive advantage; beyond the critical point, such less committed resources become a value-destroying force. In sum, while the results refuted the conventional wisdom that “the more efficiency (less flexibility), the better”; there is also evidence to refute the opposite.This study finds that, in turbulent environments, firm resources which give a firm strategic flexibility have a positive impact on firm performance and the nature of this impact is curvilinear. Our finding essentially supports the logic of RBV which posits that superior resource will enable a firm to maintain competitive advantage and high performance. Additionally, the finding also lends indirect support to DCA, since highly liquid resource serves as strategic reserve upon which a firm can exercise dynamic capability to reconfigure its competence. Taken together, the RBV and DCA jointly explain the source of competitive advantage in turbulent environments in general (Makadok, 2001) and the impact of the flexibility–efficiency tradeoff on firm performance in specific. While this research used SOEs in China's transitional economy as a setting to testing hypotheses, the contribution of the findings go well beyond the literature on emerging economies. We see several directions for future research. Firstly, more efforts need to be made to examine performance differences resulted from different types of resources and to offer improved understanding on appropriate resource configuration. Secondly, in light of the curvilinear relationship between efficiency/flexibility and performance, future research should attempt to quantitatively determine the optimal level of efficiency/flexibility. Thirdly, future research should use longitudinal data to examine whether the linkage between resource utilization and firm performance found in this paper holds over a long period of time, given that managers can change their decisions of resource configuration according to changing circumstances and such “time-varying dimension” of resource utilization contributes to dynamic capabilities and consequently firm performance (Adner and Helfat, 2003).