Organizations control people and processes – that is how organizations organize. It is unpleasant to some employees and surprising to others, but it is true. A serious concern employees have is that often the forms of control are designed by people who do not understand their work because they are too high up in the organization, as managers often are. If new instructions that control employees do not fit their work, what happens?
This very important question is addressed in research by Jillian Chown published in Administrative Science Quarterly. She looked at an interesting and typical case of control. A new process that improves work has been discovered elsewhere in the organization, executives love the process and its results, and now they are instructing new departments to follow the process. Except that those departments work differently from the ones that initially benefited from it. Everyone knows that people are stuck in their habits and often resist change that is good for them, but they also resist change that is bad for them and the organization. It is important to tell these apart. Chown focused on a work practice used successfully in the inpatient wards of a hospital and then transferred to outpatient clinics.
Guess what? Outpatient clinics have patients who come and go every day, which makes them very different from inpatient wards. The new process did not work in any of the six clinics, and in response, the staff of the clinics started modifying it to make improvements. This is where things got interesting. Usually, we think of modification as a form of customization. If a meeting in the morning does not help a team schedule processes and assign work and equipment well enough, they may change who attends, what information is brought up, and what kind of decisions are made in the meeting. A team can customize, learn from the customization, customize again, and repeat this until they have a process that works well. Top-level executives and managers further below can see that a customized process is a great way to implement something similar to what they intended, but better. In Chown’s research, customization was an easy and good outcome for half of the clinics. But the other half did not customize. What about them?
In these clinics, the staff saw the new process as completely unfit to the problems they faced and did not see a path toward fixing it through customization. The result was conflicts with the program managers trying to start the process adoption, and these conflicts had interesting outcomes. The clinics were able to halt the process adoption in the original intended form and even the customization of it. But also, the clinics knew that change was needed to improve their workflow, and executives demanded it happen urgently. In response, they started innovating processes. These had some minor resemblance to the original process but were different in form and content, so they were transmutations of it.
Transmutations were not easy to develop because the learning process was harder than with customization and also had less support from the program managers, but all the clinics in question managed to find new processes that improved their work. This is a great testament to how well teams can find new forms of control of their own work. It also brings up a small puzzle: If these improvements were always possible and were so different from what the executives tried to introduce, why had they not happened already? People do resist change, but when they are pushed, they can identify change that works. The specifics of a new form of control may matter less than the effort to enact it.
Chown, Jillian. 2020. "The Unfolding of Control Mechanisms inside Organizations: Pathways of Customization and Transmutation." Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming.
Here is a slightly nerdy question for those interested in social science: How attached are theories to fields of investigation? For example, in business schools we have marketing and organization theory. So marketing is about markets, and organization theory is about organizations, right? Not to mention all the subfields within marketing and organization theory, which are dedicated to understanding specific topics. Consumer Behavior in Marketing is about (drumroll…) how consumers behave. But is it so simple?
It is not. Many fields of investigation have been dominated by specific theories, making thinking about them so uniform that much can be learnt from other theories making inroads. To take two examples that I know well: Finance studies financial markets, but organization theory has shown that the status of investment banks affects decisions in those markets, which is against finance scholars’ belief that pricing is pure demand and supply. Organization theory studies organizations, but the entry of economists have increased awareness of how contingent rewards (incentives) can have a big role in organizing.
This means we should look around for opportunities to give established fields of investigation new ideas. That is exactly the purpose of an article by Irina Surdu, Gabriel Benito, and me in Journal of International Business Studies looking at the theory of International Business and arguing that the behavioral theory of the firm, which is an organizational theory, can inform international business studies. Why do we think this will happen? First, addressing a field of investigation with a new theory always brings out something interesting, so it would be surprising if it did not.
Second, who does international business? Firms do. Firms are organizations, and the most man-hours spent studying organizations are logged by organizational theorists, not scholars in international business. Yes, internationalization is a specific action taking by a minority of all firms, but knowing how firms act in general is very useful for understanding any specific action they do.
Behavioral theory is particularly important because it is about how firms learn, and how their managers cope with bounded rationality. This is very important for internationalization because firms that engage in international business repeatedly step into areas of uncertainty that are too great for the boundedly rational manager to make flawless decisions. Instead, they probe, get feedback, adjust, and learn. That is what the behavioral theory of the firm is about.
We do not yet know what will come from an investigation of internationalization through the lens of behavioral theory. That’s part of the beauty, because there are so many ways that this theory can be used, and so many things that can be discovered and can improve our knowledge of international business. In the end, this will feed into how we teach students to manage the complex international world that they are facing. We have now issued an invitation to researchers to change lenses, and we think it will be productive.
Surdu I, Greve HR, Benito GRG. 2020. Back to basics: Behavioral theory and internationalization. Journal of International Business Studies forthcoming.
What happens when you put talented and ambitious people together? That is an important question in many contexts, and a currently popular version is accelerators for entrepreneurs. Accelerators select the most promising venture plans from many applicants, giving them a pool of talent and ambition. They have training programs, coaches, and access to industry and funding contacts, and their goal is to help the participating entrepreneurs produce valuable ventures. Importantly, accelerators also house the venture teams together and have them interact in the training program and during their regular work.
But how should we think about their interaction? In sports, talented and ambitious people are brought together because they improve through competition. Sprinters run faster, and gymnasts develop better routines. But people are also brought together because they improve through collaboration. Soccer teams fine-tune their attacks and defenses, and Caesar’s veterans were so coordinated that they could beat other Roman armies in the civil war. Competition and collaboration can both be effective, maybe even simultaneously, but which one is best for entrepreneurs?
Thanks to research by Rekha Krishnan, Karen S. Cook, Rajiv Krishnan Kozhikode, and Oliver Schilke published in Administrative Science Quarterly, we can now answer that question. They had access to an accelerator in Silicon Valley and followed three cohorts of selected ventures, with enough differences in training and other events that it was possible to discern the formula for success. The answer may be a surprise: entrepreneurs are legionnaires, not sprinters. Collaboration with other ventures in the cohort first improved their social connections and then improved their resource access.
How did this happen? The paper has such a rich description that I cannot do justice to it here, but the main events are easy to summarize. The training included exercises that can be described as bonding rituals, such as social or sporting events. Even a simple game such as talking about hobbies or other personal information can be a bonding event. They also included exercises that can be described as tournament rituals, such as reporting of their progress toward many goals, in front of all the others. Bonding rituals and tournament rituals had very different effects. Bonding rituals led to social interactions not organized by the accelerator and generated friendships and openness. This made it easier for the entrepreneurs to ask questions and share important information. Importantly, bonding rituals made entrepreneurs comfortable with giving valuable tips to each other without getting anything back in return.
And the tournament rituals? They became show of strengths, just like a 100-meter sprint is, and they failed to create friendships and social interaction. Even worse, tournament rituals made entrepreneurs think that valuable tips should not be given away for free – they should be traded. But of course, this does not work. Unlike goods, information cannot be priced and traded well, and two people rarely have needs for each other’s information at exactly the same time.
This is where the legionnaire entrepreneurs win. Tightly bonded, they are willing to give without asking for anything in return, but they still get much in return. Not at the same time, and often not even from the same entrepreneur, but they know that in a group that collaborates, everyone is better off. Maybe entrepreneurs are not so different from everyone else after all.
Krishnan, R., K. S. Cook, R. K. Kozhikode, and O. Schilke
2020 "An Interaction Ritual Theory of Social Resource Exchange: Evidence from a Silicon Valley Accelerator." Administrative Science Quarterly: forthcoming.
Anyone who has risen high enough in an organization knows some important dilemmas and tradeoffs. One is that organizations gain most of their advantages through routines – doing the same thing over and over again, with occasional small variations – but there are situations in which routines are exactly wrong. Instead, improvisation will save the day. Another is that organizations are collaborative enterprises in which people work together to accomplish outcomes, but there is also competition. You want to perform better than the rest, and many others do too.
How to choose between routine and improvisation, and how to balance cooperation and competition? Thanks to research by Pier Vittorio Mannucci, Davide C. Orazi, and Kristine de Valck published in Administrative Science Quarterly, we know much more about these choices than before. Their work tells a fascinating story about how improvisation is done in live-action role playing, but here I will omit the details of their research and focus on their findings, which tell us some new things about leadership skills.
The first thing to know is that what we call improvisation is often just the act of stepping outside the routine way of doing things. Actions do not have to be new and dramatic to be effective, and imitative improvisation is especially good for newcomers, such as recently promoted managers. What is imitative improvisation? It is to pay close attention to what others, more experienced in the same role, are doing and to match their responses to situations you encounter. It is smarter than imitation because it is done selectively, but it looks a lot like imitation.
With experience, you can learn better ways to improvise, but not everyone manages to do so. The next step up is to think of your own reactions to unexpected situations, stepping outside routines again but now without using others’ actions as a guide. This is effective but requires more knowledge than newcomers have. The third is to look for opportunities to improvise to make improvements that others have not thought about. This type of generative improvisation is no longer problem solving because your goal is to take an organization that functions well and make it even better. This is innovative but requires more knowledge and confidence than most managers have.
Not everyone can step up this ladder of increasingly effective improvisation. What do we know about those who can? This is where the research gets even more interesting. Recall that organizations feature both cooperation and competition. It turns out that competitive people get ahead fast, also in improvisation, because they are very situationally aware and quickly learn how to imitate and how to react. Cooperative people are slower. Yes, this matches our intuition that many people who rise quickly in an organization are on the shrewd side, but keep in mind that they are solving problems well when needed.
But then it stops. Cooperative people are better at recognizing opportunities and moving others along with them to generate new ways of improvising. If you are cooperative and late to learn how to react well, you will be even better at generating improvisation than competitive people will.
And even better, people can change over time. In particular, you may be one of those who start out competitive because so much is at stake and you feel insecure, but after initial successes you become collaborative. That is the best kind of improvising leader, because that means you will quickly go through each stage of learning how to improvise, and you will reach the peak of improvisation that is done by so few and needed by so many organizations.
Mannucci, P. V., D. C. Orazi, and K. de Valck. 2020. "Developing Improvisation Skills: The Influence of Individual Orientations." Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming.
What if you are selling a product that is stigmatized by many, yet you think it benefits society? Life insurance used to be that type of product, because gaining money from someone’s death was deeply sinful. Most who have driven around Silicon Valley have a similarly negative view of fully autonomous vehicles (they are VERY annoying to have around), yet they already drive more safely than cars with human drivers and are not that much slower.
Many organizations are dealing with products that have varying levels of stigmatization, so this is an important problem to solve. Thanks to research by Olga M. Khessina, Samira Reis, and J. Cameron Verhaal published in Administrative Science Quarterly, we have a better idea of what works best. They looked at firms that are still highly stigmatized by many – marijuana dispensaries – and asked the question of whether they benefited from subtle or brash self-presentations.
The question is important because the self-presentation shapes how customers respond in three ways. First, through shop naming, location, and design, the dispensary can make it easier or harder for potential customers to enter, given that some people are interested in the product but also worried about becoming stigmatized as, well, dope-heads or whatever the fashionable denigrating term happens to be. Second, a shop that is seen to celebrate its identity as a seller of marijuana can influence customers’ thinking, because its celebration can be a source of pride that counters the stigma.
The third mechanism is especially important. People influence each other very powerfully, especially when there is no clear profit motive (unlike the influence from a shop to a potential customer). Maybe when some of the shops celebrate their identity, that makes it easier for their customers to openly do the same. If that happens, the influence among people can greatly reduce the stigma.
The conventional belief is that a store selling stigmatized products, or even just controversial ones, should keep a low profile. The California dealerships selling three-ton trucks to consumers are often placed away from where the Priuses are found, and the Hermès-ish bags in Paris are not found near rue Saint-Honoré. Any benefits from being open would surprise a lot of people. But surprise is exactly what the data offered. Stores that openly celebrated their products increased acceptance of marijuana in their local communities. Customers posting online store and product reviews with more open discussion of the products increased acceptance of marijuana in their local communities.
These findings are not the same as saying that each of these stores benefited directly – the data are not fine-grained enough to allow that conclusion. But they do show that a community of stores with a shared stigmatized product are best off being open about their identity. Together they can change opinions, wear down the stigma, and gain acceptance as a legitimate form of business. And that is very useful guidance for organizations in need of advice because their products are stigmatized.
Khessina, Olga M. , Samira Reis, and J. Cameron Verhaal. 2020. Stepping out of the Shadows: Identity Exposure as a Remedy for Stigma Transfer Concerns in the Medical Marijuana Market. Administrative ScienceQuarterly, forthcoming.
Here is something we would like to know about teamwork: What is the effect of successes along the way? Or failures? The answer is important because teams often have partial goals that they either fulfill or not at the designated time, so a team may be encouraged by a success or disappointed by a failure. And those effects, in turn, may affect their work, though it is by no means certain that teams work better after a success.
Jo Nesbø, Nils Rudi, Marat Salikhov, and me investigated this question in an article published in PLOS ONE, picking a context that has very literal teams and goals – top national leagues of professional soccer (known as football in most of the world). The idea was that a goal scored is a success for scoring team and a failure for the conceding team, so each goal changes the dynamics of the game. The question, then, is how that affects the likelihood of a victory or the full-time goal difference in the game.
To start with the obvious, soccer games have few goals, so simply scoring a goal makes a big difference. But here is also something less obvious, and potentially important. Usually the play goes on after a goal, but an important exception is when the goal is just before halftime. For example, in the last minute before halftime, which is what we investigated. In that case, the referee blows the whistle soon, and the teams go to their locker rooms. Then what?
The halftime break is when managers (coaches) make adjustments and motivate their teams, and team members rest and prepare for the second half. A goal just before the break is supposed to be demoralizing for the team that conceded the goal, and managers try to counter that effect. If they fail in doing that, a goal just before halftime influences the game much more than one at any other time. And indeed, that is what we found – halftime goals by the home team are influential; halftime goals by the away team are not. The difference is interesting because away teams are playing at a disadvantage to begin with, and conceding a goal at a bad time just makes things worse.
So, is the conclusion that successes are good, and failure are bad? It looks that way, and in fact it is quite likely that success just before the break gives the team a better start. Actually, it is not so simple that we can draw that conclusion. You see, another possibility is that successes produce overconfidence that makes a team more vulnerable to mistakes for a (short) while after. If that is true, halftime goals are great simply because the halftime removes the vulnerable period. That would affect home team more because away teams play in front of hostile fans and feel vulnerable even after scoring a goal.
What is the real explanation of this effect? We cannot be sure, because team dynamics are complicated and difficult to dissect very accurately. That, along with how important teams are for work in many kinds of organizations, means that we have to be very careful in the research before drawing final conclusions. That sounds like a reason to do more research on goal scoring in soccer, and on teams having successes and failures more generally.
Greve, H. R., J. Nesbø, N. Rudi, and M. Salikhov. 2020 "Are goals scored just before halftime worth more? An old soccer wisdom statistically tested." PLOS ONE, 15: e0240438.
Organizations are often asked to change so that they become more in sync with societal norms. Social movements, activist employees, and even the state can ask for change, but as we have discussed already, change often meets with resistance. What to do in the face of resistance? The usual response has been to push harder when an organization resists, just as battering rams were used to get through fortress gates.
In an article published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Lisa Buchter documents another approach that has been overlooked: facilitating the change. This approach is built on the principle of creating mechanisms that make it easier for the organization to change, by creating models for how change can be implemented and setting examples showing its success. The reason this works is that resistance to change is partly motivated by the effort of changing structures and processes and partly by the uncertainty of its success. The reason this works smoothly is that it is a way of reducing rather than overcoming resistance.
How did Buchter discover this approach? She studied French organizations adopting policies that accept LGBT rights. This was a complex initiative because French law had been written to ensure the rights of diverse groups, mentioning disability, sex, age, and ethno-racial categories but omitting sexual orientation. The task facing LGBT employees was to become recognized as a group that also deserved equal treatment and to have policies implemented.
To accomplish this, employee activists made use of implementation resources – including documentation of the need for fair LGBT treatment but focusing on creating preconfigured policies and procedures that the organization could adopt directly or with simple modifications. They did push for change, but there was a clear emphasis on making the change easier to implement. They could do this because LGBT activists shared information among themselves on what had been done successfully in pioneer organizations, and activists in each organization could point to successes when advocating change in their employer.
While one benefit of this approach was to accelerate change by making it easier to do, another was to ensure that the policy adoptions actually worked as intended. Organizations often react to changes in societal norms by doing as little as possible because they favor stability – not necessarily because they dislike the new norms. But presenting preconfigured policies meant that the new policies would not be minimal and symbolic changes but changes that actually led to fair treatment of the LGBT community.
Notice that the keys to success were that the initiatives were systematically spread among organizations and that in each organization insiders – employees – had prime responsibility for helping implementation. Employees need to learn what are the most effective implementation approaches, and they already know which leaders in their organization are best to approach. History offers few examples of the successful use of a battering ram but many more of successful castle sieges in which the gate was opened from the inside.
Buchter, L. 2020 "Escaping the Ellipsis of Diversity: Insider Activists’ Use of Implementation Resources to Influence Organization Policy." Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming.
We have seen many changes in how society thinks about the workplace—changes that started long before the current pandemic and have become especially important now. One key change is the new and critical view of all-consuming jobs and professions, which are widely seen as a relic of the days with a breadwinner husband and a stay-at-home wife. Strangely enough, these types of jobs are quite common in occupations that require higher education, such as law, finance, and consulting. In all of them, many employees face rigid promotion schemes that require very long workweeks both before and after promotion, with the up-or-out promotion to partner being particularly out of touch with current societal norms.
Naturally, some firms have decided to adapt to the societal view and introduce an alternative career path. What happens after those decisions is the topic of an article in Administrative Science Quarterly by Namrata Malhotra, Charlene Zietsma, Timothy Morris, and Michael Smets. They studied law firms that added the position of council as an alternative to the partner position, with the idea that a council did not need to face the same demands before or after promotion as a partner would. So far so good, right? Firms ought to conform to societal norms, especially when these are turning against exploitation of employee time budgets, and employees should welcome such changes.
Wrong. The introduction of the council position met with significant resistance from the employees it was supposed to help, even though many of them would agree with its goals. Of course, organizational change is always difficult because it involves calculations of who wins, who loses, and what is at stake. This change was especially problematic for a different reason. Societal norms favored the change, but as members of the profession and the firm, the lawyers saw the old norm of rigid and demanding up-or-out promotion as correct.
What followed was a battle in which resistance was expressed as concerns about the change being too great, too ambiguous, and too contrary to current norms and practices. Each of these were met with counterarguments from those driving the change. The change is too great? But instead of focusing on what’s different from current practice, focus on how the change improves life—family life. The change is too ambiguous? Focus on how some goals are still shared between old and new practices. The change is contrary to current norms? Focus on reassuring employees that there are pragmatic solutions to the contradictions. Through these three moves, the law firms were able to establish some degree of acceptance of the council position.
The big irony is that the introduction of a council position removed nothing of the old system of associates and partners; it just added a third position of council with a different career track. It could benefit both firm and employee by preventing the firing of employees who held valuable skills but could not or would not conform to the old career system. In principle, changes that introduce options without taking other options away should never be challenged. Organizational change is more complicated than that, however, as there is always the question of whether the old options stay the same once this new option has been introduced. And when the logic underlying the council position appeared too dissimilar with the old way of running law firms, employees were disturbed by the change.
Career systems of the employees, by the employees, and for the employees are ideal. When the career systems are meant to be for the employees but are not decided by the employees, conflict is a likely result, because the combination of different norms and distrust can be poisonous.
Malhotra, N., C. Zietsma, T. Morris, and M. Smets. 2020. "Handling Resistance to Change When Societal and Workplace Logics Conflict." Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming.
Here are three things about group conflict that managers and researchers think they know: Group conflict is common, it continues unless there is an intervention, and it reduces group performance. Are they correct? Actually, they are wrong, wrong, and wrong. These are the conclusions from research on group conflict done by Priti Pradhan Shah, Randall S. Peterson, Stephen L. Jones, and Amanda J. Ferguson and published in an article in Administrative Science Quarterly.
Why is there a gap between managerial belief and reality and – even worse (for scholars) – between research and reality? To start, let’s take groups apart. Group conflict means that there is conflict among most or all of a group’s members. But many groups contain a difficult person who creates conflicts, and these are not actually group conflicts because they center on that individual. Other groups contain people who pair up poorly and are in conflict with each other, and such dyads are not group conflicts either. The problem is that such conflicts can be confusing because the difficult person (and perhaps people in contact with him or her) thinks the group has a conflict, and so do the poorly paired people. Some things that look like group conflict are not.
Now look at conflicts over time. Do they stay the same if there is no intervention? Actually, they can shrink, stay the same, or grow. That is true both for true group conflicts and for individual or dyad conflicts. Many conflicts that occur in groups become group conflicts only if they grow; otherwise they stay minor or even disappear. Finally, consider how conflict affects performance. The common belief is that conflict worsens performance because it cuts down communication and joint problem solving. That seems intuitive, but it also seems to hold mainly if the conflict is a true group conflict rather than one involving an individual or a dyad. I certainly know how to work around a difficult individual, and I bet you do too.
The authors present data on how many conflicts within teams start out as true group conflicts. In one set of teams, it was only 14 percent. So, most of the conflicts occurring in the groups they studied were not group conflicts, at least not at first. How many conflicts grew over time? 24 percent of those that were not group conflicts to begin with. Most of the rest stayed the same, and a few shrank. Taking into account conflicts that grew, 28 percent of the teams experienced group conflict at some time. Another study in this article shows similar percentages at the start but fewer conflicts that grew to the team level.
What about group performance? The low level of group conflict is good news, with most groups doing quite well because their conflict – if there is any – involves only a few members. The news is even better, in fact, because groups with individual or dyad conflicts have higher performance than groups with no conflict. How can this be? To me, it looks a lot like the findings from research on minority effects on jury deliberations. Having one or more members disagree with the rest of the group can be stressful, but it has the benefit of providing a deeper consideration of how to best conduct the work. Even if those members are wrong, they improve the group’s performance by forcing the rest of the group to consider their processes more carefully.
Being wrong about so much should be a serious call to reconsider what we know about groups. There is an important reason that managers and researchers are so often wrong: It is easy to confuse some group members’ feelings that there is conflict with an actual group conflict. Individual impressions do not mean much unless they are connected with actual examination of the group, which many managers and researchers overlook because they take the statements of the noisy individual or dyad to be the whole story. Management is about the big picture, but it must also be about attention to detail.
Shah, P. P., R. S. Peterson, S. L. Jones, and A. J. Ferguson. 2020 "Things Are Not Always What They Seem: The Origins and Evolution of Intragroup Conflict." Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming.
Here is the main reason that organizations are inefficient and prone to making errors: subordinates know the processes best and can propose solutions to problems they see, but those in higher positions ignore or decline the proposals. Three-quarters of the solutions proposed by subordinates were shot down in the healthcare team studied by Patricia Satterstrom, Michaela Kerrissey, and Julia DiBenigno in a study recently published in Administrative Science Quarterly. Despite this, their research has a message of hope for subordinates who want to solve problems in their organization.
Why be hopeful if those in higher positions are so likely to dismiss solutions? The reason is simple. Good ideas don’t just die – the proposer and others on the team remember them and keep them alive, and many more solutions than the fraction that are immediately accepted eventually find their way into the organization. Indeed, members of this organization were so devoted to improvement that they used a variety of mechanisms to push through solutions to problems they saw.
Let me talk about two simple mechanisms here, out of the many documented in the paper. The first is persistence. Those who identify a problem and find a solution don’t just shut up forever after being ignored or put down. The solution is clear to them, and people in higher positions ignoring subordinates is commonplace in organizations, so it makes sense to bring up the solution whenever possible – preferably after there has been another event showing that the problem remains serious. As you might expect, persistence works. It was the second-fastest approach to solving problems in this study.
So, what was the fastest one? The answer will make sense to many who are familiar with organizations in research or practice: coalitions, or what the authors call allyship. Once a good solution has been voiced, other subordinates may decide that they too think it is better than the current way of doing things and that the people resisting change need frequent reminders that there is a better way of doing things. Coalitions work for multiple reasons. One is political: even an employee in a higher position has difficulty resisting solutions that many others favor. There is also a simpler reason that is especially effective. An informal coalition of people who support a solution will affect others’ thinking because they will argue for its benefits, and their arguments gain weight because multiple people say the same thing.
Persistence and coalitions are simple approaches to driving solutions through a resisting organization, and they are not the only ones that can be used. So, does that mean everything is good, and we don’t have to worry about whether organizations can improve? Well, not exactly. The first problem is that the initial decline of most solutions is consequential because it significantly delays their acceptance and implementation. In this research, only coalitions/allies were able to push solutions through in less than a year (on average); all other approaches took a year or more.
The second problem is that this study focused on a healthcare organization, with proposals from patients, receptionists, and nurses being declined by doctors. Given that healthcare organizations are in the business of saving and improving lives, I can think of many forms of organizations in which the subordinates will be less motivated to push superiors to accept solutions. I can also think of many forms of organizations in which the people in higher positions – managers – are less in touch with the actual work processes than doctors in a hospital. Still, this research gives us hope that solutions will happen, along with some ideas of how and when they happen.
Satterstrom, P., M. Kerrissey, and J. DiBenigno
2020 "The Voice Cultivation Process: How Team Members Can Help Upward Voice Live on to Implementation." Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming.
This blog is devoted to discussions of how events in the news illustrate organizational research and can be explained by organizational theory. It is only updated when I have time to spare.