Session 240

Organizational Structures and Processes

Track H

Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Time: 09:45 – 11:00


Room: Sundial

Session Chair:

  • Thomas Keil, University of Zurich

Title: A Closer Look at Work Coordination: Modes and Aspects of Coordination


  • Swapnil Garg, Indian Railway Institute of Mechanical and Electrical engineering

Abstract: This paper seeks to revisit one of the oldest concerns of organization theorist: how to organize work. The coordination perspective in the existing literature is reviewed and it is emphasized that the modes of coordination often get mixed up with aspects of coordination in the existing literature. To fill this gap, this paper identifies and distinguishes the different modes and aspects of coordination to arrive at a 3X4 matrix of how coordination is carried out in organizations. This model is then proposed to be used to throw up a preliminary set of unique propositions, which can go a long way in improving our understanding of how coordination of work is done.

Title: Boundaries to Complementarities in Professional Service firms


  • Edgar Ennen, EBS University for Business and Law
  • Ansgar Richter, University of Surrey

Abstract: In this paper, we investigate complementarities among reputation, service specialization and leverage. We argue that an increase in any one of these factors will enhance the returns to an increase in the others. However, we question the conventional assumption that such complementarities, to the extent they exist at all, hold uniformly across all levels. We use a panel of German law firms (2003-2009) to test our arguments, employing three analytical techniques: random effects regression, a test of the supermodularity of the performance function, and graphical response surface analysis. Our results show that reputation and specialization complement one another across all levels. In contrast, the complementarity between reputation and leverage holds only for unusually high levels of reputation, thus indicating a boundary to complementarity.

Title: Corporate Headquarters Change: Antecedents and Performance Implications


  • Sven Kunisch, University of St. Gallen

Abstract: In his seminal study Strategy and Structure, Chandler (1962) turned the spotlight not only on the multi-business corporation but also on corporate headquarters. Since then scholars have explored a variety of phenomena related to this specific organizational entity. Yet, corporate headquarters change defined as changes in size and scope of corporate headquarters has received little attention thus far. This study aims at investigating antecedents and outcomes of corporate headquarters change. We argue that strategic change serves as an important antecedent to corporate headquarters change and that those corporations which adapt their corporate headquarters to changes in the business portfolio achieve superior performance. Rather counterintuitive, our findings contest previous conceptions of predominant inertial forces with respect to corporate headquarters. The study mainly contributes to corporate headquarters literature and to the classic strategy/structure debate.

Title: Do Corporate Initiatives Require Coordination?


  • Michael Boppel, University of St. Gallen
  • Thomas Keil, University of Zurich
  • Christoph Lechner, University of St. Gallen

Abstract: Strategic initiatives are frequently touted as a mechanism to overcome structural inertial and create flexibility in multi-business firms. Yet, empirical research suggests that these initiatives frequently fail to reach their goals. In this paper we identify limits to the autonomy of strategic initiatives and argue that the coordination of corporate initiatives through corporate initiative programs (outside of the operating structure) is able to provide benefits beyond the reach of alternative approaches. We further argue that coordination of initiatives along several succinct dimensions improve their impact in creating cross-business synergies. Our arguments contribute to literatures on horizontal coordination, strategic initiatives, heterogeneous goals and multi-business firms more generally.

All Sessions in Track H...

Sun: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 325: Strategy Process and Practice Research in Perspective and Future Directions
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 326: Systems Perspective to Strategy Process Research
Sun: 13:45 – 15:00
Session 327: Strategy Process, Acquistion Process and Activity Sequences
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 238: Processes for Adaptation and Change
Session 244: TMT Traits, Characteristics and Roles
Mon: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 239: Risk, Uncertainty and Behavior
Mon: 13:30 – 14:45
Session 237: Dynamic Capabilities, Evolution and Change
Mon: 15:15 – 16:30
Session 242: Managerial Levels and Roles in Processes
Tue: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 241: Perspectives on Strategy Making and Planning
Tue: 14:15 – 15:30
Session 246: Processes of Resource Management
Tue: 16:00 – 17:15
Session 243: Understanding Decision Making Processes
Wed: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 304: Alliances and Cooperation Processes
Wed: 09:45 – 11:00
Session 240: Organizational Structures and Processes

Strategic Management Society