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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

IT infrastructure flexibility and sustainable competitive advantage

Dai, Zong January 2003 (has links)
This thesis is a study of antecedent and consequent relationship between information technology infrastructure flexibility and competitive advantage in the organizational context, using a case study approach that combines quantitative and qualitative methods. Four American companies were selected for the case study. The companies' IT infrastructures development and implementation of enterprise systems were examined at the firm-level. This study makes three significant contributions. First, it is the first case study of relationship between IT infrastructure flexibility and corporate performance in the MIS literature, and thus it provides some meaningful insights to researchers and managers in the IT areas about the causality that has significant impacts on business performance at the present time and in the future. Second, it provides examples of what and how firms can do to significantly improve their corporate performance by implementing an enterprise information system that typically contains the IT infrastructure flexibility, from strategic. operational and tactical perspectives. The findings impel IT managers to recognize that the enterprise system is much more than a technology issue. Third, the research highlights the future research issues in the field. and particularly the need for managerial IT capacity, ERP implementation competence and learning capacity to become parts of the IT infrastructure capability. There are two major lessons from this study. First, the IT infrastructure is a dynamic and evolving concept. That is, it is business-and-application driven and changing with time, and the same is true for the IT infrastructure flexibility. Second, an enterprise information system is not stand-alone technology, nor the IT infrastructure; they must be integrated with the overall business processes and value chain. Thus, sheer enterprise information system per se can not be a competitive advantage and that IT managers must pay ongoing attention to the strategic direction and details of business requirements and make efforts to implement cross-functional and/or cross-activity integration. A firm will be most successful when it implements ERP system with a well-defined business strategic purpose, or deploys the ERP technology to reconfigure traditional activities and/or processes, or develops its organizational learning capacity to build and/upgrade its employees' knowledge and skills.

Strategic decision processes and effectiveness : an empirical examination by Lord and Maher's integrative framework

Hsu, Frederick Bei-Min January 1998 (has links)
This thesis addresses a long standing debate in the field of strategic decision research between theories of rationality (decision models which call for adoption of comprehensive information search to achieve best possible outcomes) and theories of· bounded rationality (decision models which address decision makers' limited capacity in information processing). Empirical studies have produced inconclusive findings under conditions of rapid and unpredictable environmental change (turbulence). The various debates and controversies have been compounded by repeated failures to specify limits of proposed mechanisms, and by lack of clarity in terminology. The thesis therefore implemented a research agenda based on Lord and Maher's (1990, 1993) integrative framework. This served as a sensitising device for studying empirically observed behaviours in three major experiments. The framework is developed around three dimensions: rationality (incorporating rational models and bounded rational variants); expertness (adoption of expert judgement); and cyberneticness (trial-and-error learning). An experimental research design allowing for longitudinal observation was adopted to explore the relationships between decision processes and effectiveness under different environmental conditions. Decision environments were split into discontinuous and continuous ones, differentiated by the presence or absence of unexpected jolts. Locating changes in decision style and effectiveness in the discontinuous environments lies at the core of this research. The decision to focus on laboratory experiments has the advantage of providing the exclusive opportunities for close observation of multiple decisions in a short time-scale. However, this reduces the capacity of the study to provide direct links with real-life strategic decision situations. The results are therefore suggestive rather than definitive and are offered for cross-validation in more open decision environments. Within the laboratory settings, MBA students and senior executives participating in strategic decision making were observed. Qualitative data were collected from 124 decision tasks. A total of 330 questionnaires were further collected for the quantitative data analysis. Preliminary analysis results from the qualitative data were supported by those from the quantitative data. This exploratory research paved the way for further research in this field with similar research designs. The core finding was that a specific kind of rationality was identified· as effective in discontinuous environments. This decision mode is characterised by a combination of activities directed toward a wide search for information and possibilities (rationality), and testing out the search results (cyberneticness). This mode was labelled as Promethean rationality. Traditionally, based on a cross-sectional view, rationality and cyberneticness in decision making have. been seen as mutually exclusive (e.g., Kleinmuntz and Thomas, 1987; Steinbruner, 1974). In light of the discovery of this mode, assumptions in the literature may need re-examination. Additional findings are reported under conditions of environmental continuity. Again Promethean rationality was found to be effective. Also, a decision mode involving a combination of rationality and utilisation of expert judgement (labelled as Confucian rationality) was found to persist, and was identified as effective. Confucian rationality was found under these conditions to support what was partially expected in the 12- literature. In the past, the combination was stressed as important (e.g., Eisenhardt, 1989; Fredrickson, 1985; Simon, 1987). The fact that Promethean rationality was effective under two types of environmental conditions and previously undetected in the more critical conditions gives it higher potential for theory development than Confucian rationality. Identification of the effectiveness of Confucian rationality under. environmental continuity could be a useful 'by-product' which adds value to this research. The bounded nature of the experimental trials precludes any 'safe' extrapolation of these claims with confidence to real-life situations. However, it does permit the development of insights ('intuitions') regarding the kind of real-life situations most likely to be fruitful in the search for understanding of the experimental modes identified here.

The support of group decision making using judgemental modelling : an exploration of the contribution of behavioural factors

Proudlove, Nathan Charles January 1999 (has links)
The dominant paradigms in the decision supporting disciplines of operational research (OR) and group decision support systems (GDSS) have a unitary and functionalist outlook, and believe they design group decision support processes that promote procedural rationality through reducing group process losses. Though potentially very valuable, insights from the behavioural sciences have not been much investigated by group decision support researchers. Past investigations into the effects of individual differences have produced ambiguous and contradictory results, probably as a result of using inappropriate theory and instruments. Issues of plurality of interests, power and conflict have not been given much consideration within the dominant paradigms. Also, despite imposing structured support processes on groups of decision makers, the effects of these support processes on group dynamics and group development have received very little attention. This thesis describes the use of multiattribute decision making (MADM) software, the Judgemental Analysis System (JAS), as part of a longitudinal group decision support process intended to help decision makers explore and develop preferences. Though all steps are not computer-supported, the process can be thought of as very similar in use and effect to a GDSS. Measures to indicate individual and group behaviours are derived from the MADM data. Multidimensional scaling is used to produce perceptual maps to explore and demonstrate these behaviours. The cognitive style of decision makers is assessed using the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI), and interpersonal influence data collected using questionnaires. Changes in perceptions are found to decrease in magnitude over the course of the JAS process, suggesting that the decision makers are developing clearer perspectives on the problem. Group consensus is found to increase over the JAS process, particularly at the early stages. Investigations into this suggest that this may (in part) be a manifestation of 'Groupthink' and similar phenomena that lead members of groups to conform, avoiding dissent at the cost of reducing the quality of the process and its outcome. This suggests that more effort should be made in the support process to guard against such confounds to rationality. Group members perceived to be influential by the rest of the group are found to be affecting the perspectives of the group as whole. Before the implications for the decision support process can be determined, further research is required to investigate the grounds for this influence. The effects of interpersonal influence are not evident at the level of the behaviour of the individual decision makers. No relationships are found between behaviour and individual or group (aggregated) level cognitive style. This is an important finding and lends weight to arguments that the knowledge from the behavioural sciences concerning this aspect of individual difference need not be incorporated into the type of OR and GDSS studied here. However, this type of investigation leads to consideration of interpersonal (i.e. grouplevel) processes such as group development. The required deeper investigation into such pluralistic ideas from the behavioural sciences represents a major challenge for OR and GDSS, but one with potentially very fruitful results for the improved support of group decision making.

Enterprise change and economic transformation in Egypt

Gebba, Tarek Roshdy January 2000 (has links)
This thesis is mainly concerned with understanding how large Egyptian enterprises have adapted to the transformations in their economic environments. Particularly, attention is paid to exploring the changes in Egyptian enterprises, in terms of ownership relations, strategic priorities, contractual relations and personnel policies, which have taken place in response to the economic transformations. The data for this research was obtained through personal interviews with semor managers and workers' representatives, in various Egyptian enterprises: SOEs, mostly and fully privatised enterprises and joint venture enterprises. In addition, some policy makers were also interviewed. Case studies of thirteen Egyptian enterprises were undertaken. These were chosen so as to reflect different kinds of ownership and managerial styles. A simple statistical analysis along with qualitative analysis techniques, were applied to analyse the data. The findings of this research show that changes in ownership and control, strategic priorities, contractual relations and personnel policies were not as radical as some observers had expected. The institutional environment, continued state intervention in the enterprises' decision making process, the dominance of the state over the banking sector and key suppliers of electricity, water and oil together with the high level of risk involved in making radical changes in enterprises' activities and technology have limited the extent and effects of changes in the aforementioned dimensions. This research has drawn on earlier work on enterprise change in Hungary and other eastern European economies and contributes, therefore, to the comparative analysis ~ of organisational change in transitional economies

Investigation of a new model of team development through the development and testing of a self-report inventory

Chen, Ming-Huei January 2001 (has links)
Many studies into team development have been conducted over the last thirty years. Tuckman's four-stage model of team development (later a fifth stage 'adjourn' was added) has been long regarded as representative of the current state of theory of team development. However, neither the original Tuckman model, nor its later version drew on new empirical data, but sought to reflect the complexity involved in the developmental stages and to integrate available literature. An alternative model of team development was recently proposed by Rickards and Moger. These authors argued for the existence of two structurally distinct barriers across team development processes: a weak behavioural barrier and a strong performance barrier. The proposed framework relates team performance to a creative leadership style that introduces structures supportive of norm-challenging team behaviours. A set of key team factors, proposed as associated with leaders' efforts, served as mechanisms for improvement of team performance, and for means of reducing the impact of the barriers. The preliminary reports were mainly speculative, and supported by simple qualitative and numerical observations. The research aims to provide a quantitative basis for the investigation of this newly proposed model of team development. A contextual examination of teams in health service organisations is also conducted. Following an opportunistic sampling, three versions of a self-report inventory were developed and administrated to 2179 respondents within training and organisational development studies. The items were developed to capture the essential features contained in the definitions. The preliminary evidence of an empirical study from 1103 participants established that the instrument had acceptable reliability and validity. Six of the seven key team factors were identified. Subsequently, two formats of the instrument were designed to examine the content validity of the team factors and administered to 492 subjects across industries, health service organizations, educational institutions and other sectors. An analysis of the responses revealed a similar factor structure (six factors) to that found in the first study. The items were refined, and a further validated version used with 584 employees from 40 teams of government utilities. The third version successfully identified all seven factors. The reported results have suggested that significant progress has been made towards developing a reliable and valid instrument for assessing team performance. Results also support the postulated relationships between leadership, team factors, and team performance. The qualitative study suggests that 'benign structures' as mechanisms of enhancing individual or team's creativity can be identified and characterised as cues, rules, or other means of achieving positive changes in relationships/actions that team leaders introduced. Qualitative assessments are found to support the quantitative data, indicating links between leadership, team factors and outputs.

Managerial careers and expertise in the retailing industry

Clyde, Anne M. January 1993 (has links)
There is a common assumption in much management literature that a manager's past work experience influences the way in which he performs his current job. However there is not a great deal of empirical evidence to support this assumption. The objective of this thesis is to examine the relationship between the type of careers that managers experience and their perceptions of the skills needed to perform their jobs. Ninety-four managers were interviewed from five retailing organisations. The theory of organisational career logics developed by Gunz (1989) was used as a framework to examine the degree of novelty which each firm's modal career shape provides for its managers. In accordance with organisational career logic theory two organisational features, type of growth and structure, were found to influence the type of career that managers experience. It was found that firms in the same industry which vary in structure and growth patterns will offer their managers different degrees of novelty during, and at different stages throughout their careers. The managers were interviewed about their perceptions of what skills they needed to perform their current post. In three of the firms evidence was found to support the view that the amount of novelty a manager has experienced during his career influences the way in which he perceives his job. In addition, there was evidence from managers in two of the firms that the managers' future career expectations, the way in which their performance is measured and their observations of the career routes successful managers have followed in the past influences the skills they emphasise. In this way the dominant career culture within the firm reproduces itself, reinforcing the existing expertise in the organisation.

Consultants as knowledge workers : an anglo-dutch comparison of consultancy

Donnelly, Rory January 2006 (has links)
The development of the knowledge economy is expected to require considerable change on the part of knowledge-intensive organisations and their employees. The emergent category of knowledge worker is considered to challenge many of the key features of the standard employment relationship, leading some commentators to claim that knowledge workers are the vanguards of a new employment relationship and new organisational arrangements. As archetypal knowledge workers, consultants are perceived to be representative of these changes and are considered to benefit substantially from the value of their intellectual capital and their employer's dependence upon their tacit knowledge - which is expected to enable them to exercise substantial control over their working arrangements and to operate as socalled 'free workers' (Knell, 2000). However, the free worker hypothesis has not been sufficiently validated by empirical research or tested in different national contexts. This study therefore explores the main propositions of the free worker hypothesis and considers the impact that employer management strategies and client demands have upon the free worker hypothesis. In addition, the study also introduces an international dimension to the analysis by examining the extent to which the free worker model is shaped by national context, through an Anglo-Dutch comparison of consultancy. The data collected for this study provides little support for the notion of the free worker. The results reveal that knowledge workers are able to exercise substantial discretion over their working arrangements, but that their freedom and ability to achieve high levels of temporal and locational flexibility is constrained by their own professional aspirations, their employer's management strategies and their position in a triangulated employment relationship. Through the identification of international differences in consultancy and the employment model, the data also demonstrates that the knowledge worker and these factors are shaped by environmental factors. The empirical data collected by this study therefore provides little support for the free worker hypothesis or its universal validity and instead highlights the need for the development of a more hybrid-based employment model to analyse the knowledge worker employment relationship.

Dominant coalitions and strategic choices in different business systems : a comparative analysis of BSC and Posco

Ro, Youn-Gil January 1993 (has links)
The thesis analyses the strategic choices of two major world steel producers - British Steel Corporation in the UK and Pohang Iron & Steel Co., Ltd. in Korea - from the late 1960s to 1989. For each organisation, a longitudinal analysis of 'dominant coalition' in top management is described in relation to the characteristics of different 'business systems (Whitley 1992)' in the two nation states. The two case studies explore why and how the processes and outcomes of a firm's choices differ significantly between the respective countries. In addition to the importance of the beliefs and understandings of the actors controlling scarce resources, we argue that social institutions exert considerable influence on the group behaviour of dominant coalitions and vitally affect their 'business systems' and the organisations' choices. We also point out at the end that the coalitions' control over the systems and choices is incomplete as long as they are bound by institutional rules and changes. Points of practical concern that deserve further research attention are summarised in the final chapter.

An investigation on how business excellence models contribute to support the strategic planning process in organizations

Rocha Lona, Luis January 2007 (has links)
Quality management initiatives (QMIs) and business strategies have played a major role in supporting organizations' business improvements. Despite extensive research, the relationship between QMIs and business strategy has not been properly comprehended. Consequently, there is little research and documentation of their use at this levels and it is evident the paucity of methods to effectively integrate QMIs into strategic planning and business improvements. This thesis is concerned with an exploratory study about the use of business excellence models (BEMs) and their application to support the strategic planning process. Accounts in the literature suggest that BEMs contribute to identify areas of improvements at operational levels after conducting self-assessments. On the other hand, despite the claims of their use to support business strategy, their contribution has been regarded as a blurred application. As a result, some critics have questioned not only the real benefit at business strategy levels, but also their validity at operational levels. This thesis examines fifth research issues: first, how BEMs pragmatically contribute to support strategic planning; second, what model criteria and in what strategic planning stages models have a real influence; third, at what levels of strategy the BEMs have been more effectively applied, fourth, what has been the evolution of BEMs and how it has allow them to play several roles in the organizational context, and fifth what have been some of the barriers to deploy the EFQM model. To accomplish this, the research method includes extensive literature reviews and an empirical investigation consisting of two surveys with European organizations that use the EFQM model. The research findings suggest that BEMs contribute to strategic planning contrary to some accounts in the literature. The research shows the benefit of encouraging organizations to conduct benchmarking and using internal business information for strategic analysis. The findings also reveal the application of the model to set strategic plans and objectives based on self-assessments outcomes. Similarly, it was found a strong application to monitor business results and consequently, to evaluate or modify strategies. In addition, it was found that models are used at business strategy levels, and they are strategic regardless the organizational level in which they are deployed. The investigation also reveals how models have evolved, and the little changes undertaken in the criteria from managers' perspectives. This research concludes that BEMs have evolved enough to significantly contribute to strategic planning, and to be a valuable source of internal business information. Some theoretical and practical implications are drawn for model users and quality management foundations. The need for further research in developing a knowledge-based framework to integrate the EFQM model into strategic planning and business improvements is pointed out. Finally, the managing and modelling of information to support strategic planning is a key emerging issue to consider for future research.

Integrating the 'green' environment into business strategy

Lewis, Gerard J. January 1998 (has links)
Why are business organisations not integrating the natural environment into business strategy? This question is important because green issues have strategic importance for business organisations, green issues are under-researched, and current management practice is believed to be inappropriate for managing such issues. This research focuses on answering the question by studying how senior executives in the UK textile industry (a) perceive uncertainty in the natural environment and (b) make strategic decisions involving green issues. The research uses questionnaires and interviews for data collection. Both research instruments are grounded in two main constructs; 'perceived environmental uncertainty' and 'rationality in strategic decision making'. A contingency perspective is taken and organisation performance is measured using Ashby's (1956) Law of requisite variety. The findings show that a number of barriers to integration exist. Exogenous barriers are: (a) the quality and availability of information, (b) sources of uncertainty and equivocality in the natural environment, and (c) rational and non-rational decision making techniques are either not available or undeveloped. Endogenous barriers are: (d) executives' limited mental models of the natural environment, (e) a relatively low level of rationality in strategic decision making for green issues, and (f) a vicious circle which discourages investment in information structures. The research is novel in that perceived environmental uncertainty and rationality in strategic decision making have been applied to green issues for the first time. Other contributions to knowledge include the development of the macro environment concept (Le. commercial and natural environments combined), the development of green research instruments, and the application of Ashby's (1956) Law to the measurement of green organisation performance. The practical implications of the findings are that executives should be sensitised to green issues and trained to think systemically. At the organisational level, information processing structures can be improved by using scenario planning techniques. It is also the case that environmental management systems have limited application in green strategic decision making.

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