Management and Organisation

 

Recent Submissions

  • Zhang, Ling Eleanor (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2015-08-11)
    “China is a bit like malaria, you know, you get it to your blood, and it doesn’t get erased.” Life in China has so much promise, they resolved to stay just for a little bit longer. Yet year after year, this foreign shore has never been short of turbulent storms revealing to them that they have deemed themselves as only temporary residents. They have long departed from their home land, the destination of their journey is yet uncertain – China or yet another foreign land? Thus, between these countries, they might not belong anywhere, or only in that little space in-between, where they could lay down their discontented bones. As a familiar destination for multinational corporations over the last few decades, surprisingly China still remains as one of the most challenging destinations for expatriates. Yet underneath the seemingly high expatriation failure rate exists an ever more routine reality of contemporary working life: from expatriates sent by headquarters, to self-initiated expatriates, to expatriate entrepreneurs, a growing number of sojourners are now, for various reasons, becoming caught up in China. They experience a dizzying array of processes collectively labelled as cross-cultural adjustment, acculturation or biculturalism. Based on comprehensive fieldwork comprising one year’s observation and 78 interviews with expatriates and their host country colleagues in 18 different organisations, I seek to uncover the working and living realities of expatriates in China from a language and culture perspective. I develop two distinct insights in this book. Firstly, I emphasise the importance of empirical context in theorising biculturalism by demonstrating how the specific contexts of the home and host country influence expatriates’ acculturation process. Secondly, I define biculturalism in a contextualised and dynamic manner, and articulate why this is different from existing frameworks, and how this might be applied in future studies. Having immersed myself deeply in these questions, the framework that I developed in analysing individuals as a collectivity in relation to different cultural reference points is profoundly grounded in the phenomenon of expatriation itself. By analysing what characterises expatriates’ journeys in becoming bicultural, I present a holistic understanding of expatriates’ responses and coping mechanisms to their changing environment. I also reveal the various dilemmas expatriates face in terms of their relations with host country employees, home country nationals and third country national expatriates. As an integral part of culture, language plays an indispensable role in expatriates’ internalisation of new cultural practices, and their work and life in general in the host country. I thus explore the multifaceted linguistic challenges faced by expatriates from both their own perspective, as well as that of the host country employees. I further provide a contextual account of expatriate host country language proficiency on cross-cultural adjustment, and inductively build an analytical framework for analysing why and how host country language matters.
  • Bor, Sanne (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-11-25)
    Organisations collaborate with one another. And they appear to do so more and more frequently in the recent decades. At the same time many of these efforts fail to deliver what the collaboration was set up for. This combination creates the basis for the fascinating and stimulating research field of inter-organisational relations – a field which is still very much in development. In this thesis the focus is on meta-organisations, associations in which organisations are members. The steering of such inter-organisational structures appears to need a novel approach, a collective, multi-level engagement which I set out to examine. The thesis is structured to foreground the process of the research and the development of my thinking. The study is conducted on R&D consortia funded as Networks of Excellence by the European Commission under Framework Programme 6. The study is based primarily on five case studies, by way of documentation and interviews. In addition, the study draws on data collected on 101 consortia and consortium agreements from 50 consortia. The thesis develops the theoretical understanding of meta-organisations and their organisational conditions and implications. Meta-organisation theory, thus far, has focused mainly on the implications following from having organisations as members. This thesis suggests adding to this theory the implications created by constitutional membership, that is, members that constitute the organisation. Constitutional membership makes a difference in three ways: it creates a clear boundary of the meta-organisation; it assumes collective ownership of the meta-organisation; and it makes possible the utilising of indirect resources – the resources of the member organisations, and most importantly their personnel – by the meta-organisation. In addition, the thesis develops a conceptual framework of steering processes, combining governance, management and administration. This framework shows how both decisions and mutual adjustment in top-down, bottom-up, and horizontal directions steer meta-organisations. The framework may, however, be fruitfully used to study other organisations as well. The findings from the analysis of the steering processes show that the utilisation of indirect resources decentralises the governance, management and administration of activities to the participants of member organisations who are undertaking these activities. The results also demonstrate that the governance, management and administration of undivided tasks centralises to those with formal management responsibility. In addition, the analysis shows how control and granting are avoided, externalised or formalised to deal with lack of hierarchical authority. These and other findings of the study seek to refine and extend the hypothesised conditions of meta-organisation theory.
  • Tuori, Annamari (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-11-20)
    Social categories, such as ethnicity and gender, have been shown to be important for people’s identities in organisations. Different categories of people can experience very different realities in terms of who they are or can be at work, often influenced by inequalities in relation to and indeed between the categories. However, the inequalities often tend to be silenced. At the same time, silence in individual people’s identity work in organisations has remained relatively unexamined in the research literature. Accordingly, this thesis examines identity work in organisations at the interface of social categories, inequalities, and silence(s). The thesis examines people’s identity work in organisations through a notion of ‘intersectional job-related identity work’, meaning the construction of a job-related identity at the intersections of different social categories. It focuses in particular on, first, how in identity work people relate to inequalities, and, second, how they are silent about social categories as a part of their identity work. The empirical context for the study is three small to medium-sized ICT companies in Finland. The thesis is based on 33 semi-structured interviews. The main findings of the study concern two aspects related to intersectional job-related identity work. First, the study identifies two different types of ‘intersectional strategies', namely, the combining and separating strategies that people engage in in their job-related identity work. These refer to different ways of combining and separating social categories with and from one’s job-related identity, respectively. Intersectional job-related identity work is not only about different ways of combining a job-related identity with social categories, but also about how social categories are kept separate from one’s identity at work. Moreover, in line with previous studies, this study suggests that inequalities, in terms of different positions and experiences of privilege and/or disadvantage are often central for how identity work is done. Second, the thesis identifies different ways in which people are (and are not) silent on social categories at work. It identifies organisational, interpersonal and individual level silences, identifying inequalities as the issue that the interviewees seem to be mostly silent on. Thus, while inequalities related to social categories seemed to be important for how intersectional job-related identity work is done, they are also simultaneously that which the interviewees seemed to be most silent on. The thesis contributes particularly to the research literature on identities, identity work and intersectionality in organisations, by providing new knowledge on both silence in and around (intersectional) identity work in organisations, and how social categories may be kept separate from job-related identity.
  • Forss, Maria (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-10-01)
    Den här avhandlingen handlar om hur fortbildning arrangeras för sjukskötare i en finländsk sjukvårdsorganisation. Fortbildning är viktig för organisationer och anses vara ett strategiskt verktyg för att möta, bemästra och skapa förändringar. Forskning kring fortbildning kretsar ofta kring pedagogiska lösningar eller lärande där fortbildning uppfattas som något neutralt. Min avhandling tillför forskning om fortbildning ett maktperspektiv och ett retoriskt perspektiv och jag behandlar inte fortbildning som något enbart positivt eftersom fortbildning även är handlingar med potential för normativ kontroll. Jag utgår ifrån att fortbildning är partisk och värdeladdad. Min titel för avhandlingen syftar på den mångbottnade förståelse som kan skönjas i begreppet fortbildning. Det finns begränsad forskning vilken ser fortbildning som uttryck för sammanhang och helheter. Inte heller finns forskning som ser arrangemangen kring fortbildning som handlingar vilka skapar/fråntar anställda makt eller forskning som ser fortbildning som uttryck för självreglerande handlingar. Det är till denna mindre uppmärksammade sida som jag riktar mitt vetenskapliga bidrag. Jag har tematiskt intervjuat sjukskötare och ledare samt utbildningsplanerare. Dessutom har jag analyserat organisationens texter om och för fortbildning samt observerat två olika fortbildningar. Avhandlingen är en omfattande fallstudie som bygger på 31 intervjuer av 23 informanter och på två olika icke-deltagande observationer. Jag har koncentrerat, kategoriserat och tematiserat mitt material och byggt broar mellan det som kan förefalla motsägelsefullt med hjälp av kritisk hermeneutik för att presentera det som resultat. Sedan har resultatet tolkats med hjälp av en konstruerad analysmodell som bygger på två olika analyslinser. Den ena är den kommunikativt handlande linsen och den andra linsen är governmentality. Resultaten nås således genom att analysera fortbildningsaktiviteter med hjälp av två olika teorier, kommunikativt handlande och governmentality. Från de tre viktigaste aktörernas perspektiv försöker jag skapa en helhetsbild av fortbildning som fenomen. Fortbildning granskas från tre aktörers perspektiv samtidigt och på detaljnivå med syftet att fånga en helhet. Som vetenskapligt bidrag är detta en kritisk organisationsstudie av HR verksamhet med fokus på fortbildning. Jag demonstrerar hur ledningens förväntningar och anställdas förväntningar kring fortbildning omöjligt kan mötas om det inte finns vilja, initiativ och plats för dem. Makt och positioner kan inte separeras från retoriska handlingar, något jag visar i avhandlingen.
  • Koveshnikov, Alexei (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-08-05)
    Multinational corporations (MNC) are often presented as powerful but ‘faceless’ institutional actors that shape the world we live in. However, we have lately seen increasing interest in actual ‘faces,’ that is the key actors, behind the MNC’s functioning in relation to the cases of fraud and bankruptcy that, together with other factors, led to the severe financial crisis at the end of 2000s. The cases of Enron and Lehman Brothers easily come to mind. It raised concerns that power abuses and tricky political games developing and proliferating within MNCs can have tremendous corporate as well as societal impacts and consequences. Yet, as of now, the micro-level power and political relations between actors in MNCs and their implications, i.e. what I call in this thesis ‘micro-politics,’ are seldom examined. Moreover, neither is the role that the institutional, cultural and sociopolitical contexts play in these micro-political relations among actors within MNCs sufficiently understood. Against this background, in this thesis I attempt to give ‘a face’ to the MNC. That is, I apply a number of ideas from comparative institutional theory, social cognition and translation studies to examine micro-political aspects of the interactions between organizational actors in MNCs that determine how these corporations function both on day to day basis and in a longer run. By so doing, I strive to offer a more nuanced, contextualized, and actor-focused sociological understanding of power and political interactions among organizational actors within the MNC. It is important to study and comprehend these processes in order to better explain them and to some extent control them.
  • Tallberg, Linda (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014-06-02)
    This book is about life at an Australian animal shelter, called ANIMA. The shelter is tasked with organizing the dark side of humanity of cruelty, neglect, and ignorance. It is about the humans and animals who live and die in the organization - often silenced and hidden in society. Employees join the organization to save animals, yet due to organizational constraints, are the ones who are tasked with the killing. In ANIMA, the emotional and moral conflict is both constant and intense for animal shelter employees. They are promotivated and have strong ideological alignment to the organizational goals. This creates a lifestyle that revolves around saving and caring for the neglected, unwanted and mistreated animals of society. However, management and the animal shelter employees are at odds on how to best handle the social problem of pet overpopulation. The organization rests upon a traditional hierarchical power distribution where those who perform the stigmatized job task of euthanasia are also those without any real decision-making power. Reducing the animal shelter workers to assembly-line workers in a processing-plant is a key way to ensure the business model of the animal welfare organization flows smoothly. I was employed for a year as an animal attendant in the animal shelter. My ethnographic material includes diary entries, interviews, participant-observations and are represented in my thesis through Crystallization. It is through this unusual form of communication that I use poetry, pictures and narratives to try to engage the reader to understand the unique, emotive context of the organization. In this book, I specifically focus on the paradoxical work role that includes euthanasia of healthy animals; how the hidden voices of the animals give knowledge of the organization; and how power relationships are revealed during emergency evacuation during a natural disaster. The study argues that there are immense problems, both at an organizational as well as broader societal level, of how unwanted animals are dealt with. The focus of powerlessness felt by employees and animals leads to four coping mechanisms throughout the study which I call: Hero, Victim, Professional and Tourist. I make contributions to literatures on Emotion in Organizations, Dirty Work and Positive Organizational Scholarship.
  • Vesa, Mikko (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2013-11-21)
    To search for dragons is not an act of foolishness. Rather, it bespeaks a curious mind open for the discovery of new canvases of organizing and human action. Beyond our boardrooms and office spaces, bureaus and plenary rooms new organizational forms are springing into life. Fuelled by the explosive growth of human capacity in digital technologies, these new organizational forms inhabit virtual worlds created through computer code. In this thesis I open the door on my 39-month ethnographic journey through one such virtual world. Azeroth is the setting for the massive-multiplayer-online (mmo) game World of Warcraft. It is a world abuzz with activity, organizing, strategizing... and dragons. It is also the location of my field work, and a site that management and organization scholars hitherto have been largely unaware of. Hence, this thesis reports on findings in two distinct senses. Firstly, through the ethnographic sense of the joy at discovery of something new and secondly through the interpretive efforts I undertake in the thesis to contribute to management and organization theory through the insights hidden in my empirical material. Underneath every ethnographic endeavour there is a journey of discovery. It is not always visible behind the sophisticated argumentation that exemplifies academic discourse. For conducting journeys of discovery I introduce in this thesis two distinct insights. I introduce the subgenre of virtual ethnography and report what it means in practice to conduct such research in Azeroth. Secondly, I elaborate on the typically overlooked question of how to adapt ethnographic practice in order to contribute to a specific field of research. I do so by examining how ethnographic practice can answer questions posed by the field of strategic management studies. Success in such efforts entails a distinct take on the researcher’s field role and the type of indigenous knowledge pursued. Theoretically, this thesis analyses the strategic practices and processes involved in managing a virtual organization. Drawing on the strategy as practice tradition I identify the core practices required to organize and maintain an organization in virtual space. I use these insights as building blocks to explain how through the utilization of an extreme case, such as organizing in World of Warcraft, we can better identify the internal causes of organizational failure and the importance of fellowship-based core groups in organizing. To follow the constantly unfolding canvas of organizing is one of the primary challenges of management and organization studies in order to retain topicality, and virtual worlds is one of unfolding canvases.
  • Louvrier, Jonna (Hanken School of Economics, 2013-08-27)
    In many countries diversity management has become an increasingly common way of treating differences between people in the world of work. Companies may sign diversity charters to show their engagement in promoting diversity, design and implement diversity management programmes, and communicate about their diversity initiatives to internal and external stakeholders. But what does diversity in the workplace mean? Who is defined as being different? And what do those defined as being different think about diversity and difference in work? By addressing these questions this book sheds light on the complex meanings of diversity management. The meanings of diversity management have long been developed and discussed in relation to equality and anti-discrimination policy and practice. A key question has been whether diversity management is a better way to enhance equality between organisational members or, on the contrary, is it diluting the results of equality approaches. The scope of this study is broader and shows that meanings of diversity management are constructed by drawing on not only knowledge about equality and anti-discrimination, but also understandings of society, the organisation, the individual, and the nature of differences. The study is informed by poststructuralist theory and based on interview data produced with 23 diversity managers and 52 ethnic minority employees in diversity promoting organisations in Finland and France. The findings contribute to the field of diversity management in several ways. First of all, the results show that there is no unitary meaning of diversity, difference and diversity management, but a number of discourses together forming the complexity and variety of what diversity management can come to mean in a given context and at a given point of time. Secondly, the findings challenge the idea that diversity management initiatives would be based solely on essentialist views of difference. However, the findings also show that even when differences are seen to be socially constructed, the organisation is not seen as participating in the construction of differences and in the production of related inequalities. Thirdly, the findings show that ethnic minority employees rarely draw on their differences as positive resources in work, and that they often are left alone to manage challenging situations related to difference, even in organisations promoting diversity. Lastly, the study highlights the importance of being attentive to national societal context, as discursively constructed, throughout the research process.
  • Olin, Tommy (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2013-08-27)
    Socialt kapital, ett begrepp utsprunget ur sociologin, har under 1900-talets senare årtionden inkluderats i många andra vetenskapliga discipliner. Det har använts för att försöka förstå varierande samhällsskeenden. Även inom ekonomi har socialt kapital, jämsides med fysiskt kapital och humankapital, fått ökad betydelse för att förklara ekonomisk utveckling och tillväxt. Socialt kapital kan uppspjälkas strukturellt i form av nätverk samt kognitivt eller kulturellt i form av t.ex. tillit. Det ansågs ursprungligen vara en tillgång som existerade på individuell nivå, senare tillfördes kollektiva nivåer. Socialt kapital har överlag beskrivits som en positiv företeelse, nödvändig och gynnsam för ekonomisk utveckling och med en särskild förmåga att generera allmän nytta. På lokalnivå anses det sociala kapitalet utgöra en viktig beståndsdel i det s.k. företagsklimatet. Men begreppet har även en negativ sida, som diskuterats i betydligt mindre omfattning i litteraturen. Det sociala kapitalet kan ibland verka nedbrytande eller hämmande för utvecklingen inom ett visst område eller en viss befolkningsgrupp. De existerande nätverken antar då en exkluderande karaktär, där vissa grupper utestängs och tilliten begränsas till att omfatta endast utvalda individer. Med utgångspunkt i det sociala kapitalets negativa yttringar är syftet med denna studie att beskriva hur detta kan erodera ett samhälles entreprenöriella förutsättningar. Empiriskt behandlar studien lokalsamhället Purmo, som under perioden 1945-76 uppvisade en noterbart minskande företagsamhet, samtidigt som företagare utgångna från kommunen blev framgångsrika på andra orter. Trots att den stagnerande företagsamheten i Purmo kan ha sin grund i flera olika samverkande faktorer, påvisas det att den mest avgörande omständigheten utgörs av det gentemot företagsamheten negativa kulturella klimatet, främst i form av det sociala kapitalet, och att detta bidrog till den utveckling som historiskt skedde. De förutsättningar som borde ha funnits för en växande företagsamhet saknades och många av de individer som försökte sig på företagande gav upp. Den historiska utvecklingen i Purmo kan också beskrivas som spårberoende i det att lokalsamhällets utveckling i Purmo var i händerna på nätverk som inte gjorde avsteg från den utstakade linjen. Den lokalekonomi som uppstod kring sekelskiftet 1900 och som kännbart bidrog till områdets dåtida gynnsamma ekonomiska utveckling, skapade också det sociala kapital som omöjliggjorde en kursändring. På basen av den empiriska studien prestenteras i skriften en modell för en nedåtgående samhällsutveckling.
  • Galkina, Tamara (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2013-05-23)
    Despite the wide application of the network approach in Entrepreneurship and International Entrepreneurship, previous research lacks understanding of entrepreneurial networking as a process. Also, existing research views entrepreneurial networks as relatively stable and structured entities that are created in response to the defined resource needs and goals of a new venture. However, non-goal-oriented side of entrepreneurial networking has been neglected. Thus, the ultimate goal of this thesis is to study the intended and unintended aspects of the process of entrepreneurial networking. In this research, unintended entrepreneurial networking is understood through the lens of effectuation theory, which represents a logic of reasoning opposite to causation or a goal driven action based on predictive rationality. The findings from the five essays included into this thesis demonstrate that the process of purposeful creation of entrepreneurial network has three phases – activation of existing contacts, purposeful creation of new contacts, and evolution of entrepreneurial network. Also, entrepreneurial infrastructure influences this process, namely the involvement of formal and informal relations into the network. In addition, the results show that causation and effectuation are constantly intertwined in the process of entrepreneurial networking. The way the entrepreneurs networked, causally or effectually, depends upon the content of establishing a relation, the value of either the quality or quantity of a relation, and entrepreneur’s personality. In the context of internationalization and forming networks in foreign markets, entrepreneurial firms are likely to network effectually due to the conditions of high uncertainty. They are likely to enter foreign markets following their networks instead of these markets determining where and what partners to select. These findings lead to the implications that networking plans do not always work and entrepreneurs need to remain open to unexpected connections. Moreover, in highly uncertain situations they can leverage contingences in order to increase available opportunities. Also, the thesis suggests several implications derived from the comparison of entrepreneurial networking of Russian and Finnish founding teams. For example, it recommends Finnish entrepreneurs expanding their businesses to Russia to use networking services of various organizations, to find a network expert who has local knowledge and connections, and to rely on informal business relations.
  • Sorsa, Virpi (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-10-31)
    “Strategizing has become one of the most important managerial practices. It is becoming harder and harder to find an organization, which wouldn't engage in yearly strategic planning and implementation cycles. Although the theorizing of "planning" is becoming less popular in strategy research and the theorization of "process" and "practice" is gaining more and more ground, the practice itself - the managerial elite's strategy workshops, the writing of official strategy documents and the employees' and interest groups' various innovative ways of interpreting and using those documents - has become accustomed, legitimate and even expected in contemporary organizations. This thesis examines the social practice of strategizing in municipal and congregational strategy work through various discursive perspectives and explains how strategy enters into and figures in the daily lives of people organizations. The contributions of this thesis are presented in six essays, which examine the actual strategy conversations and texts. This approach gives the reader a unique opportunity to access information and learn about issues which are typically kept out of sight to outside eyes. The results of this thesis emphasize the constitutive role of discourse and communication at different sites of social life within the context of strategizing. With its distinctive approach to studying the transcripts and videorecordings of strategy work, this thesis sensitizes scholars to pay careful attention to language and its role in social practice of strategy and will be invaluable to scholars, researchers, and graduate students in strategy communication.”
  • Khoreva, Violetta (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-09-13)
    A growing awareness of gender inequality as well as a conviction that it should be eliminated has produced a number of studies aiming at uncovering its reasons. Much less attention has been given to the subjective dimension of how individuals perceive gender inequality. One of the main elements of gender inequality, the gender pay gap, has also received considerable attention by scholars all around the world. However, several researchers documented that their respondents did not perceive the existence of the gender pay gap, even when the gap could be clearly demonstrated from statistical sources. Besides, previous studies on organizational justice have come to somewhat inconsistent conclusions regarding gender differences in the effect of equity and organizational justice on organizational commitment. Examining whether and to what extent people perceive gender inequality and the gender pay gap to exist can help answering the question of why gender inequality and the gender pay gap persist. Furthermore, studying why, even though female employees tend to earn less than their comparable male counterparts, they often continue to be committed to their organizations to the same or even greater extent than their male colleagues is indeed a question of interest. Against the background of the above discussion, this thesis aims to examine how individuals with different backgrounds and employees from different workplaces perceive gender inequality, the gender pay gap, and react to pay inequity. The findings indicate that far more employees perceive gender inequality in society in general rather than in their own workplaces, which means that while employees realize that there are problems in Finnish society concerning gender inequality as a whole, they tend not to perceive the existence of this very problem in their own workplaces. The finding that employees in lower hierarchical positions perceived workplace gender inequality to a greater extent than employees in higher hierarchical positions was the least expected. This finding suggests that those employees, who are in higher hierarchical positions, are least likely to see the problem of gender inequality. Finally, the findings show that female employees tend not to perceive an income differential in the first place. The thesis thus provides evidence that female employees react to a lesser extent to pay disparities by continuing to be highly committed towards their organizations. These differences are partly explained by factors related to social comparisons and gender socialization.
  • Wartiovaara, Markus (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-06-11)
    Over the last decades the amount of billionaires has grown significantly. This dissertation provides a pioneering study into this extreme form of entrepreneurship by studying the phenomena on three levels of analysis: a societal, individual and decision-based. It studies the effects of economic freedom, stakeholders and individual decisions on the wealth of billionaires. The quantitative panel data study includes 15 years of data from 50 different countries for the analysis of the effects of amongst others economic freedom and markets on billionaire wealth. The individual case study on Warren Buffett deepens our theoretical understanding of the drivers behind his historical donation to charity. The theoretical perspective is based on developing the stakeholder theory of the individual. The stakeholder theory of the individual complements the existing literature by providing a more holistic perspective of the individual including our professional, private and other relationships as essential and integrated parts of our forms of value creation. The dissertation argues for a stakeholder-interested rather than a narrow self-interested perspective on human motivation. The dissertation continues to develop a complementing individual- and value centred perspective on entrepreneurship as stakeholder transformation. Ultimately, the dissertation emphasizes the importance of individual freedom and responsibility in our roles as consumers, employees, citizens, family members and investors et.c. in order to enable more constructive forms of entrepreneurship and balanced societal development.
  • Franck, Henrika (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-05-24)
    Strategic management and ethics impose contradictory pressures on managerial sensemaking. Using concepts from Paul Ricoeur’s philosophical work as a theoretical lens, this thesis analyzes a longitudinal data set, produced within strategy meetings and interviews in a multinational corporation undergoing a radical change process. It induces a model of ethical sensemaking in strategic management, founded on the processes of irony, compromise and conflict. The thesis demonstrates how the ethical can become possible and tangible in practice. It is an ethics that prompts reactions with on-going practicalities and acknowledges the unpredictable nature of change.Whereas normative business ethics literature has focused on how strategy is fair, leads to good deeds or is made by virtuous people, this study suggests that ethics is not something separate from the day-to-day, or moment-to-moment activity. It cannot be controlled from a distance. The study shows that business and ethics are not separate – it is about how we live with one another outside of being merely means for one another to gain. Through two interconnected analyses the thesis reveals how strategy work is riddled with tensions and how individuals rely on a number of tactics to navigate in order to live up to the demands of ethics.
  • Laukkanen, Seppo (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2012-05-16)
    Exploration and exploitation complement one another in the organizational learning. Exploration fosters the ability to diversify, while exploitation increases specialization. Together, these two modes promote innovation and subsequent organizational renewal. While exploration facilitates the discovery of new knowledge, exploitation merges this knowledge with previously held knowledge and skills to expand and strengthen the firm. The current scientific literature falls short in explaining in practical terms how this fusion takes place, produces innovations, and renews the strategy of an organization. By leveraging an intimate relationship with the innovation activities of a large-scale multinational enterprise, Laukkanen created an Integrated Process Model of the interplay between ambidextrous innovation activities and the strategy and structure development of a company. The Integrated Process Model highlights the conversion between exploration and exploitation as the central mechanism for establishing a dialogue that fosters reciprocal adjustment between the innovation activity, strategy and structure of the firm. The study identified three conversion patterns that bring the discoveries from the exploration mode to the commercial realm. In the ‘linear’ pattern, the innovation activities execute the fine-grained strategy with the established structure of the company. The linear innovation activities produce incremental innovations that sustain the strategy of the firm. In the ‘transforming’ pattern, an iterative conversion process facilitates concurrent reciprocal adjustments in the innovation activity and strategy and structure of the firm. The adjustments of the strategy and structure are necessary for radical innovations. In the ‘experimenting’ conversion pattern, the activity is intermittently connected to the strategy and structure development of the company. The intermittent connection provides the experimenting activity with the latitude to craft new business entries outside the traditional domain of the company. The intermittent connection between the innovation activity and strategy and structure implies that the strategic learning takes place primarily in retrospect to the experiment. The research illuminated ambidexterity as an eclectic organizational learning phenomenon that cuts through the fabric of an organization. The study captured the ambidexterity phenomenon on three ‘presentation layers’. Ambidexterity was identified both in actions and in their concrete outcomes, i.e. innovations. Additionally, ambidexterity left observable traces on the realized strategy of the firm. Each presentation layer of ambidexterity needs to be managed on its own. However, the study argues that the most decisive factor in making ambidexterity productive is the purposefulness of the continuum across these presentation layers. The three identified innovation patterns represent alternative paths from ambidextrous activities to their eventual outcomes. The Integrated Process Model of ambidexterity provides a conceptualization for actualizing ambidexterity to the strategic benefit of a company. This study provides guidance for firms seeking to promote ambidextrous activities for innovations and organizational renewal.