Management capability, innovations in work practices and performance : multilevel research in science and technology based firms

Marc Thompson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

Abstract

These five published papers focus primarily on the role of managerial resources (the knowledge, skills and abilities of managers) in the use of innovations in work practices and their performance consequences. The papers together take a multilevel approach exploring the role of management capability at individual, organizational and industry level with a particular focus on science and technology firms. The first research paper uses individual level data from R&D scientists in six organizations to understand how managerial capability shapes non-imitable resources such as commitment. Interactional justice, or the perceived fairness of the manager, is identified as a critical moderating factor that can support higher levels of knowledge generation. The second paper builds on this relational perspective and explores the role of the employment relationship, operationalised though the psychological contract, on knowledge sharing behaviours amongst R&D staff. The job design dimension of the contract is found to have a positive impact on innovative behaviours while performance pay is negative. The third paper takes an establishment-level focus and differentiates between 'HR-specific' and 'general' management capability. Based on cross-section and panel data from establishment-level survey conducted three times in 7 years in the UK Aerospace industry, the paper finds positive associations in the cross-section data for management capability and innovations in work practices. Tests for the moderation effects of management capability on innovations in work practices and performance using the panel data were contrary to expectations. The fourth paper uses detailed case study evidence from seven establishments to explore constraints on the adoption of innovations in work practices. Three themes were identified which may shape managerial capability to innovate: industry and production context; the distributed nature of management activity, and social embeddedness. The fifth and final paper, explores the links between the production context and the use of innovative work practices. It finds that with increasing levels of product and service complexity, the nature and scope of innovative work practices also increases. At low levels of product and service complexity incentives are the primary HR practice deployed whereas at higher levels of product and service complexity establishments use teamwork, employee surveys and a positive approach to trade union relations.
Translated title of the contributionManagement capability, innovations in work practices and performance : multilevel research in science and technology based firms
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Laamanen, Tomi, Supervising Professor
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-60-4173-5
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-4174-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Keywords

  • innovation
  • work practices
  • high performance work systems
  • high commitment work practices
  • high involvement management

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