Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
The Linkage of organizational routines and flexibility
Chen, Wein Hong
Yu, Chwo Ming
Seetoo, Dah Hsian
Chen, Wein Hong
|Issue Date: ||2010-12-08 13:26:12 (UTC+8)|
|Abstract: ||組織例規是組織行為的重要基石(Nelson and Winter, 1982; Becker, Lazaric, Nelson, and Winter, 2005)。組織例規一方面反映組織內重複做事的方式，是組織穩定性的來源(Simon, 1945; Cyert and March, 1963; Nelson and Winter, 1982)。另一方面，近期學者主張組織例規必須具有內部動態性，組織方能有彈性地回應環境的變化(Feldman, 2000; Feldman and Pentland, 2003; Pentland and Feldman, 2005; Becker, Lazaric, Nelson, and Winter, 2005)。 |
雖然學術界與實務界對於組織例規帶來的穩定性已有共識，對於組織例規如何幫助組織快速、有效地回應環境變異性 (彈性) (Sethi , Khamba, and Kiran, 2007)，學者的看法紛紜 (e.g., Adler, Goldoftas, and Levine, 1999; Pentland, 1995; Pentland and Rueter, 1994; Feldman and Pentland, 2000; Feldman, 2000; Feldman and Rafaeli, 2002; Feldman and Pentland, 2003; Pentland and Feldman, 2005; Becker, Lazaric, Nelson, and Winter; 2005)。Feldman and Pentland (2003) 主張在探討組織例規與彈性關聯性時，應將組織例規重概念化，認為主張組織例規除了包含組織例規的結構層面 (ostensive/structure aspects)，也包含組織成員實際執行例規之代理層面 (performative/agency aspects)。Feldman and Pentland (2003) 並主張組織成員實際執行例規的代理層面是促成彈性的來源。
本論文主張，除了可藉由組織成員選擇例規執行的方式成為彈性的來源 (e.g., Feldman, 2000; Feldman and Pentland, 2003) 外，組織也可能透過結構面組織例規的設計來影響組織成員的決策行為 (代理面組織例規)，進而達到彈性的目的。
本論文探討之研究問題包括：(一) 因應環境變異性，組織傾向發展哪些結構面的組織例規? (二) 結構面的組織例規如何影響組織個人決策行為，以幫助組織快速、有效地回應環境變異性，進而達到彈性的目的？
本論文的研究設計採Eisenhardt (1989) 之歸納性個案研究法。選取的個案公司包含5家在台灣市場成立20年以上之行銷研究公司，個案公司的篩選是依循理論抽樣的原則 (Glass and Strauss, 1967; Eisenhardt, 1989)，挑選的個案公司包含在台灣之本國行銷研究公司及多國行銷研究公司。資料蒐集方法上，本論文蒐集多重來源之資料，並進行三角驗證 (Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 2003)。資料來源包括：初級資料和次級資料。初級資料包含研究者與行銷研究公司參與客製化量化研究專案之不同活動、不同階層的不同人員所進行之面對面深入訪談，以及研究者實地觀察經驗，此外，研究者同時也非正式的訪談兩位客戶端與行銷研究公司合作的窗口，瞭解客戶對各個專案活動之需求；次級資料則包含行銷研究公司的網站資訊、報章雜誌報導、公司簡介、宣傳文件，以及部份公司內部之文件資料與電子郵件資料。本論文的分析單位是行銷研究公司執行量化研究專案時的活動 (activities)。
針對研究問題一，本論文發現對知識密集之新式專業服務公司 (neo professional service firms) 而言，為了回應異質之任務環境變異性，標準作業程序對於彈性的影響並不明顯，取而代之的是具可塑性的組織例規。面對異質/穩定的任務環境變異性，組織傾向發展內容樣板、檢查樣板、書面原則、及文法行動例規。而面對異質/變動的任務環境變異性，組織傾向發展資訊搜尋例規、互動式經驗學習例規、書面原則、及劇本。
Organizational routines are fundamental constituents of organizational behavior (Nelson and Winter, 1982; Becker, Lazaric, Nelson, and Winter, 2005). On one hand, organizational routines reflect repetitious “ways of doing things” in an organization, which signify stability (Simon, 1945; Cyert and March, 1963; Nelson and Winter, 1982). On the other, organizational routines embrace “endogenous changes”, which help organizations respond flexibly to environmental changes (Feldman, 2000; Feldman and Pentland, 2003; Pentland and Feldman, 2005; Becker, Lazaric, Nelson, and Winter, 2005).
While there is a consensus in literature that organizational routines serve as major sources of stability, discussions on how organizational routines embrace “endogenous changes” have just started in recent years (e.g., Pentland and Reuter, 1994; Feldman, 2000; Feldman and Pentland, 2003; Becker, Lazaric, Nelson, and Winter, 2005; Becker and Zirpoli, 2008). Among the discussions, Feldman and Pentland (2003) propose a distinction between ostensive/structural routines and performative routines in order to understand endogenous dynamics of organizational routines.
This research seeks to extend the discussions on endogenous dynamics of organizational routines. In particular, two research questions are investigated. First, in order to respond to task environment dynamisms, what types of ostensive routines are designed in practice? Second, how do different ostensive routines affect individual’s decision-making behavior (performative routines) and thus influence flexibility.
Three links are explored in this research, including a link of task environment dynamisms to the design of ostensive routines, a link of ostensive routines to performative routines, and a link of performative routines to flexibility. The first link reveals that different task environment dynamisms may require different design of ostensive routines. The second and third links show how assorted ostensive routines influence different components of individual’s decision-making behavior (performative routines) and thus influence flexibility. In this research, flexibility is defined as the ability to respond effectively to the ever-changing needs of customers and is composed of two dimensions, the quality of response and the speed of response (Sethi, Khamba, and Kiran, 2007).
In order to explore the linkages, this research employs a multiple-case design (Eisenhardt, 1989; Eisenhardt and Graebner, 2007). Five marketing research firms, including three local marketing research firms and two subsidiaries of multinational marketing research firms, are selected for field studies. I conducted field observations in one case firm and initiated field in-depth interviews with a diversity of people from different functions and different levels at each case firm. Within each firm, nine research activities/processes, which require flexible performance, are selected as units of analysis.
The result first shows that across the nine research processes studied, all processes face heterogeneous task environment, including heterogeneous-stable environment and heterogeneous-shifting environment. In order to respond to task environment that is heterogeneous in nature, marketing research firms develop a collection of ostensive routines or routine artifacts, such as standard operating procedures, content templates, checklist templates, written rules, grammars of action, information-search routines, interactive experiential learning routines, and scripts. Among the ostensive routines, standard operating procedures are steady in nature and mainly assist in achieving efficiency. Other ostensive routines, such as content templates, checklist templates, written rules, grammars of action, information-search routines, interactive experiential learning routines, and scripts, are ‘flexible’ in nature and play an important role in influencing flexibility. In other words, these ‘flexible’ ostensive routines or routine artifacts are designed to be “live routines” (Cohen, 2007; Pentland and Feldman, 2008).
In this thesis, the focus is on the presence of these ‘flexible’ ostensive routines and the influence of these ‘flexible’ ostensive routines on individual’s decision-making, which in turn influence the quality of response or the speed of response, the two important dimensions of flexibility (Sethi, Khamba, and Kiran, 2007).
This research discovers that facing heterogeneous-stable task environment, content templates, checklist templates, grammars of action, and written rules are important ostensive routines. Content templates specify alternatives or rationales for selection of alternatives in decision-making; checklist templates specify considering factors for decision-making; written rules specify heuristics for complex decision-making; grammars of action specify logics of action.
Responding to heterogeneous-stable task environment, content templates that specify alternatives guide individual’s action to specific direction and influence the speed of response consequently. Content templates that specify rationales for selection of alternatives provide individuals with logics of selection, which in turn affect the quality of response. Besides, checklist templates remind individuals with factors to be considered; written rules provide individuals with heuristics for making complex decision; grammars of action indicate logics of action to individuals. The quality of response may be influenced in consequence.
Additionally, this research also discovers that facing heterogeneous-shifting task environment, information-search routines, interactive experiential learning routines, written rules, and scripts are viable designs of ostensive routines. Information-search routines exist to facilitate knowing-who, knowing-what, and knowing-how search behavior. Interactive experiential learning routines represent drilling activities “for maintaining infrequently exercised capabilities” (Nelson and Winter, 1982: 107). Written rules provide “tips” for making complex decisions. Scripts provide stories about working examples or best practices (Szulanski and Jensen, 2004).
Responding to heterogeneous-shifting task environment, information-search routines, which facilitate knowing-who search behavior, provide individuals with specific direction of asking whom. The speed of response may be affected as a result. In addition, if there is a trust between the question sender and the receiver (Moorman, Deshpande, and Zaltman 1993), the receiver is willing to share his/her experience, and the sender’s judgment repertoire is likely to be influenced. Therefore, the quality of response may be affected. Information-search routines, which facilitate knowing-what search behavior, supply individuals with general market information and may impact individual’s judgment about factor considerations; information-search routines, which facilitate knowing-how search behavior, provide individuals with the logic of action to solve problems. The quality of response may be affected as a result. Besides, interactive experiential learning routines urge individuals to share and learn from each other; written rules provide heuristics for complex decision-making; scripts provide stories of working examples or best practices (Szulanski and Jensen, 2004). Through these routines, individual’s judgment repertoire may be influenced. The quality of response may be influenced consequently.
The discovery from this research is in line with the recent theoretical argument that there is endogenous dynamics of organizational routines (Becker, Lazaric, Nelson, and Winter, 2005) and organizational routines can be sources of flexibility (e.g., Feldman, 2000; Feldman and Pentland, 2003). While recent scholars mainly argue that individuals who decide the way to perform routines serve as the key sources of flexibility, this thesis propose that the design of ‘flexible’ ostensive routines or routine artifacts may also influence individual’s decision-making and therefore contribute to the achievement of flexibility. The discovery not only extend theoretical discussions on endogenous dynamics of organizational routines (e.g., Feldman and Pentland, 2003; Pentland and Feldman, 2005; Becker, Lazaric, Nelson and Winter, 2005; Pentland and Feldman, 2008), but also provide some implications to the theory of organizations in action (e.g., Thompson, 1967), the micro-foundations of organizational capabilities/dynamic capabilities (e.g., Felin and Foss, 2005; Teece, 2007; Abell, Felin, and Foss, 2008; Foss, Husted, and Michailova, 2010), and the design of processes (e.g., Hall and Johnson, 2009).
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|Source URI: ||http://thesis.lib.nccu.edu.tw/record/#G0913555031|
|Data Type: ||thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||[企業管理學系] 學位論文|
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