عوامل موفقیت برای یافتن منابع تیم ها : چگونگی پرورش یافتن منابع اثربخشی تیم
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4625||2013||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : European Management Journal, Available online 28 February 2013
Cross-functional sourcing teams have become a popular coordination mechanism to organize company procurement activities. However, many of these teams fail to meet management’s long-term expectations. A lack of sourcing-specific team research obstructs a clear understanding of the factors that drive sourcing team performance. In the present study, we identified three major dimensions of sourcing team success. Apart from general overall team effectiveness and supply base management effectiveness, sourcing teams need to effectively cooperate with other stakeholders within the firm in order to secure purchasing cost savings and supplier contracts. Additionally, we identified factors that underlie sourcing team success, based upon extensive survey data taken from members, leaders, and managers of 59 (cross functional) sourcing teams in twelve large, multinational companies. Our study revealed that different success factors drive different sourcing team effectiveness dimensions. Also, we found a seemingly contradictory need for both autonomy and formalization to ensure sourcing team effectiveness on all three dimensions. The latter seemed particularly important for teams with high levels of functional diversity.
Strategic purchasing is at the forefront of contemporary company practice. The purchasing profession now has a strategic role in the firm (Carr & Pearson, 2002). Strategic purchasing, or sourcing, is part of the purchasing function that aims at selecting and managing the external suppliers in line with the strategic objectives and goals of the firm (Van Weele, 2010). Evidence shows that organizing purchasing activities through a separate purchasing department is no longer appropriate in today’s business context; when organizing for complex buying decisions alignment with other functions is critical (Brown and Cousins, 2004 and Seth, 1996). This also seems true when multidivisional corporations want to create purchasing leverage among their global business units (Trautmann, Bals, & Hartmann, 2009). Sourcing thus requires effective management of both external suppliers and internal stakeholders, and occurs as a cross-functional, boundary-spanning activity (Handfield, Petersen, Cousins, & Lawson, 2009). Flexibility and horizontal and cross-functional communication must increase, while lead times must decrease, to ensure purchasing’s value-added contribution to business success (Trent & Monczka, 1998). While taking advantage of emerging technologies for collaboration, knowledge-sharing and communication, new organizational structures are emerging to meet these new objectives. Multinational firms adopt cross-functional, cross-business unit team structures to deploy their sourcing strategies, to manage their suppliers, and to harmonize their supply operations. Team-based organizational structures with purchasing professionals working alongside representatives from other functional areas (e.g., research and development, quality, engineering, finance, depending on the specific sourcing category), replace traditional purchasing departments and mono-functional buying center structures and processes (Ellram and Pearson, 1993, Giunipero and Vogt, 1997, Johnson et al., 2002, Monczka et al., 2006, Seth, 1996, Trent and Monczka, 1994 and Trent and Monczka, 1998), a trend that is forecasted to continue (Zheng, Knight, Harland, Humby, & James, 2007). Scholars emphasize the role of team structures to align the interests of all internal stakeholders within a company with respect to sourcing and to deal with potential conflicts of interest among the stakeholders involved (Hardt, Reinecke, & Spiller, 2007). Team structures allow for more flexibility and improve horizontal- and cross-functional communication for complex purchasing decision-making. Such decision-making should result in better purchasing performance in terms of cost, quality, and innovation, and ultimately improve a company’s financial results (Carr & Pearson, 2002). The use of team structures in purchasing organizations seems to correlate with positive performance outcomes. However, success has no guarantee and extant research indicates that the implementation of sourcing teams knows many challenges. Companies that implement sourcing teams face the risk that, within months after start-up, teams’ ambition levels decrease as motivation and cohesiveness among team members flag (Johnson & Leenders, 2004). Also, not uncommonly teams report to lack a mandate, which delays projects significantly when the teams try to close a contract (Englyst, Jorgensen, Johansen, & Mikkelsen, 2008). Similar concerns were voiced in the companies we visited. Effective management of sourcing teams is a key lever for increasing the purchasing function’s contribution to company profitability. Although quite some research has been devoted to buyer–supplier relationships (e.g. Gadde and Hulthen, 2009, Hald et al., 2009 and Penttinen and Palmer, 2007), the internal organization of the purchasing function has achieved far less attention (Trent & Monczka, 2003). Ideas from prescriptive literature in the area of sourcing team management (e.g., Banfield, 1999 and Philippart et al., 2005) have hardly been tested empirically. Of course, team effectiveness has been studied extensively in other settings, such as in manufacturing, new product development, and service organizations. Yet these studies provide limited guidance for sourcing team management, since their contexts and performance requirements differ from those of sourcing teams in a number of ways. A combination of part-time team member allocations and cross-functional and cross-business unit team compositions characterizes the context of sourcing teams, whereas the teams referred to above often reside in one business unit, or have fulltime dedicated members (Trent, 1998). Sourcing teams often deal with conflicting interests of different stakeholders, who may perceive the purchasing function to be of limited strategic importance (Carr & Pearson, 2002). At the same time, sourcing teams depend on others external to the team, since operational buying activities typically occur elsewhere in the organization (Karjalainen, Kemppainen, & van Raaij, 2009). Prior research has not explored how this purchasing context affects different antecedents of team effectiveness. Empirical research could identify success factors underlying sourcing team effectiveness, and provide insight into the mechanisms that drive sourcing team effectiveness in practice. This article presents the results of a large-scale field survey study addressing the effectiveness of sourcing teams. Drawing a sample from a variety of companies that switched from more traditional purchasing structures to team-based structures, our aim was to identify critical success factors for these sourcing teams and to provide insight into the relationships between input factors, team processes, and specific dimensions of their effectiveness. The study translates implications from prior team effectiveness research in other areas into purchasing settings and offers guidance for companies that have introduced or plan to introduce sourcing teams. The article proceeds as follows. In the next section we describe a conceptual framework and review literature for factors of potentially high impact on sourcing team effectiveness. In section three we describe the method we used to test this framework empirically. Section four, then, presents the results. Finally, in section five, we summarize the findings, discuss the implications and limitations of the study and we raise additional questions for future research. The focus and scope of the present research do not allow for a detailed description of the set up, context, and activities of the sourcing teams under study. The interested reader is referred to an article by Englyst and colleagues (2008) for an elaborate case description of a sourcing team similar to the ones we studied.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Increasingly, organizations are moving toward team-based structures for organizing company procurement activities. Purchasing professionals work alongside representatives from other functional departments to ensure purchasing’s value-added contribution to business success. However, due to a lack of sourcing-specific team research little is known about what determines the success of sourcing teams. The aim of the present study was to identify critical success factors for sourcing teams and provide insight into relationships between these factors, team processes, and specific dimensions of sourcing team effectiveness. The study’s findings offer some important insights for theory and practice. Theoretical insights First, our initial analyses revealed that sourcing team effectiveness is a three-dimensional construct rather than the two-dimensional construct described in earlier research. Besides general overall team effectiveness and supply base management effectiveness, the ability of sourcing teams to cooperate effectively with internal stakeholders appeared to be a unique and critical dimension of sourcing team effectiveness. Traditionally, the emphasis in supply chain management is placed on building relations with outside suppliers and less emphasis is placed on the collaboration with internal users (Bryde, 2005 and Hult et al., 2000). The cooperation with the internal stakeholders, however, is of critical importance for effective supplier management in a time in which organizations are much more dependent on suppliers (Hult, 1998). Whereas building strategic relationships with suppliers supports a company’s innovativeness through the supply base and general team effectiveness allows the team to deliver a good solution efficiently, external cooperation effectiveness assures a certain level of influence of the purchasing function to create alignment with key business functions and divisions (Giunipero et al., 2006 and Handfield et al., 2009), which is crucial for contract compliance. Indeed, this supports the view that the buying center, as described in Webster and Wind’s (1972) model for organizational buying behavior, does not just include the members of the sourcing team, but anyone who influences the sourcing decision. Effective collaboration between those influencers (including business managers and technical experts) and the team is essential to create value for the buying company (Cova and Salle, 2008 and Hult, 1998). Cross-business, cross-functional teams replace traditional purchasing departments in order to build stronger ties within the organization, and our study confirms that this ability is a distinct dimension for successful sourcing performance. Second, recognizing multiple dimensions of sourcing team success opens the possibility that different success factors drive different team outcomes (Scott-Young and Samson, 2008 and Senior and Swailes, 2007), which is exactly what we found. Internal authority and transformational leadership were the only two factors that showed positive relationships with all three dimensions of sourcing team effectiveness; all other input factors affected some specific dimensions of sourcing team effectiveness. That is, besides the effect of internal authority and transformation leadership, general overall team effectiveness was positively related to formalization, supply base management efficacy was positively related to external authority and functional diversity, and finally, external cooperation effectiveness was positively related to member rewards, initiating structure, and formalization. Moreover, the suggested mediating mechanisms of effort, internal communication, and external communication all played a role in these relationships. A closer examination of the specific findings reveals some interesting patterns. Internal authority proved to be the strongest predictor for all three dimensions of sourcing team effectiveness, with effects being mediated by enhanced internal communication and increased member efforts. Different from traditional purchasing departments, sourcing teams represent knowledge from multiple backgrounds, which allows these teams to be more self-managing than more traditional structures (Johnson et al., 2002). Offering team members autonomy in their daily practices thus pays off, not just in terms of optimizing internal team dynamics, but also in terms of building strategic relationships with suppliers as well as internal stakeholders. Moreover, external authority related positively to supply base management effectiveness, which confirms earlier findings that teams become less effective in closing deals when managers attempt to overrule final team decisions (Holland et al., 2000 and Trent and Monczka, 1994). The beneficial effects of team autonomy are also reflected in the findings that sourcing teams benefitted from transformational leadership on all effectiveness dimensions as it enhanced internal and external communication, and stimulated team member effort. Transformational leadership is an inviting, participative style of leadership in which a communicative leader challenges team members with high performance standards, while allowing them to find their own way of making this work (Keller, 2006). All of these results point towards the importance of devolving authority to teams, which has been shown to allow for greater flexibility, better collaboration, and more efficient and accurate knowledge exchange (Cummings & Cross, 2003). However, notwithstanding the importance of team empowerment, structure and formalization also emerged as important influences on sourcing team effectiveness. Interestingly, in the perception of the managers it is a leader’s capability to initiate structure that significantly affects the team’s ability to cooperate effectively externally. Moreover, formalization was perceived to improve general overall team effectiveness as well as external cooperation effectiveness. Roundtable participants indicated that clear procedures and structured leadership reduce ambiguity around teams’ tasks, responsibilities and mandate, resulting in increased accountability and, hence, better team performance. This is in line with earlier research showing that clear procedures create support in organizations for team decisions (Andrews, 1995) and that formalization also improves cross-functional relationships (Pinto et al., 1993). Thus, initiating structure and formalizing sourcing processes seem particularly relevant when a team’s recommendations must be implemented and followed up by other departments in the organization. Regarding team composition, the functional diversity factor generated some interesting results. Functional diversity was shown to relate positively with supply base management effectiveness. Both effort and external communication improved as a result of higher diversity, and team members and leaders perceived their teams’ performance to increase due to the representation of knowledge and skills from different backgrounds. The positive effect of functional diversity on effort may spring from a team’s increased perception of the strategic importance and meaning of its work when managers from multiple departments allocate resources to the team. At the same time, though, there was a negative relationship between functional diversity and management ratings of external cooperation effectiveness. Apparently, according to the purchasing managers involved in our study, the representation of more functional backgrounds in a sourcing team decreases its ability to cooperate effectively with others external to the team. In the roundtable meeting, a number of explanations were raised for these findings. First, the level of functional diversity can reflect the complexity of the sourced product or service, serving in effect as a proxy for likelihood of success. Second, when the team represents knowledge from more functional backgrounds, different viewpoints and interests and practical limitations will make both team and task management more difficult, as most practitioners would admit. Third, when conflicts arise across functional boundaries, these conflicts often escalate to management. Senior managers are therefore more likely to encounter issues with functionally diverse teams. At least these findings suggest that, while functional integration seems a necessity for further development of the purchasing function (Reinecke et al., 2007 and Zheng et al., 2007), purchasing managers tend to perceive this integration as a troublesome process. Finally, member rewards were found to have a positive influence on the team’s effort and related positively to external cooperation effectiveness. However, with an average score of 3.8 on a 7-point Likert scale the result regarding member rewards indicated that, within the companies in this study’s sample, not all sourcing team members received rewards. This may also explain why team-based rewards did not show a significant impact on any of the effectiveness dimensions. Clearly, team-based rewards may fail to have the desired (and expected) positive effects when the reward system is not ‘all-inclusive’ (i.e., when not all team members get the team-based reward). In the roundtable meeting, purchasing managers indicated that their influence on the reward structures for team members from outside their own departments is indeed very limited. Practical implications This study clearly carries practical relevance for those companies that have initiated sourcing teams with high expectations, only to face challenges in implementation (Englyst et al., 2008 and Johnson and Leenders, 2004). A clear insight from the present study is that sourcing team effectiveness requires proficiency in terms of general overall teamwork processes, supply base management, and external cooperation. Improving sourcing team effectiveness, therefore, requires an assessment of the current situation on all three dimensions as the basis for crafting managerial interventions toward enhanced sourcing performance. The measures used in the present study will enable managers to assess the performance of their sourcing teams. Especially when team recommendations must be implemented and followed up by other departments in the organization, the findings point toward a seemingly contradictory importance of both team autonomy and formalization in the execution of the purchasing function in teams. On the one hand, sourcing teams require a clear mandate to develop and execute a sourcing strategy, a so-called license to act. On the other hand, managers should provide sourcing teams with clarity regarding roles and responsibilities through formalized sourcing procedures. Next, managers should appoint team leaders able to clearly structure tasks within the team. Overcoming potential ambiguity seems particularly important for teams with high levels of functional diversity. Although increased functional integration seems essential for further supply base development (i.e., getting suppliers involved in quality improvement, lead-time reduction and product and process innovation), managers indicated that it may be difficult to solve the inherent differences of interest and opinions in functionally diverse teams and to secure compliance with sourcing decisions. Hence, close monitoring of the effects of team diversity on the external cooperation dimension of sourcing team effectiveness specifically seems warranted when team composition gets more diverse. Finally, our study indicates that it would be desirable for purchasing managers to get more influence on the reward structures of team members from outside the purchasing department. Rewards were found to have a positive influence on sourcing team effectiveness, but a lack of control over external members’ rewards impedes a fair and transparent reward system for the entire team, which may ultimately bring down team morale. This points towards the need to include metrics measuring members’ contributions to sourcing teams to facilitate performance evaluations. Study limitations and suggestions for future research This research has a number of limitations. Organizational cultures in multinational companies reflect, at least partly, the national values of a company’s home country (Hofstede, 1982). The multinational companies under study here are all headquartered in Northern Europe, and the majority of the globally operating managers and team members came from Northern Europe countries characterized by low power distance cultures. Previous research has indicated that empowerment may be beneficial in low power distance cultures (e.g., the USA and Northern Europe), but not in high power distance cultures (e.g., China and Russia), since professionals from these cultures may not possess the background and ability to perform well when experiencing an empowerment intervention (Eylon & Au, 1999). So, our finding that internal authority is a key success factor for all three effectiveness dimensions may not be generalizable to every cultural setting. Although the study used validated measurement scales that have high validity, some of these scales did not result in optimal factor structures, and a number of items were dropped from further analyses. The items, however, reflected the respective factors well, and showed high face validity. In fact, including more items sometimes only increases ambiguity (Fields, 2002). Also, Cronbach’s alpha scores just below the .7 level may have attenuated relationships, but the established relationships counterbalance this concern. The metrics for all effectiveness dimensions were attitudinal scales, so common method bias was not cancelled out. Objective measures of team success across companies and industries are, unfortunately, difficult to define and to obtain. This is an issue not only for researchers, but also for the purchasing organizations involved, who find it difficult to develop fair performance indicators for their sourcing teams. The management ratings in this study counterbalance this limitation somewhat by providing more objective insights from a different source. Of course, the cross-sectional nature of our research design prevents us from deriving hard conclusions about causal directions. Suggestions for further research include longitudinal studies in the area of sourcing team effectiveness. The mechanisms through which input factors affect team performance in executing sourcing tasks, particularly a team’s external cooperation effectiveness, constitute an area of interest for further qualitative research. Also, the contrary perceptions by teams and their managers with respect to the effectiveness of functional diversity are another interesting area for future research. More insight into this phenomenon seems critical for effective sourcing team management. Finally, it is evident that the optimization of reward structures for sourcing teams remains a research need that future research should inform. In summary, this study’s framework and recommendations offer guidance for practitioners to enhance a sourcing team’s general effectiveness, its ability to cooperate effectively with others external to the team, and its effectiveness in managing the company’s supply base.