ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT THEORY Conference Paper Abstracts

2003 Academy of Management Proceedings  
This qualitative empirical study reveals the multiple logics which managers, in undertaking projects, used to influence other employees. This paper seeks to contribute to the literature decision-making process by exploring further the often ignored area of middle management's processes. In addition, as an exploratory approach this paper aims to reveal the factors that influence such processes. The design of this qualitative study includes the identification of a sample of 59 projects undertook
more » ... y 39 middle managers in 35 complex multidivisional organizations in Canada. Each manager in the sample was interviewed about his/her activities in undertaking such projects. The study considers the differences in the types of middle managers and in the types of action context. The findings indicate that managers may indeed employ three different logics-authoritarian, emotional, and conciliatory-in the strategic decision-making process. Such logics depend more on the managers' perception of the project than the organizational features. Although some managers used different logics in different projects, no one manager changed the applied logic when undertaking a specific project. We develop an ecological theory of the strategic positioning of all firms in an organizational population across its evolution. Drawing on established ecological theories and notions of strategic positioning from the management literature, we contend that processes of mutualism, competition, and inertia shape the propensity of firms to move in the market space. Accordingly, we derive hypotheses about the effects of direct niche overlap, market segment crowding, niche width and resource abundance on strategic movement. Analyses of the transition rate between market segments of firms in the U.S. auto industry between 1895 and 1981 confirm the predictions of the theory and suggest that organizational movement is a fundamental ecological process that leads to shifts in demographic distributions and evolution of structure in an organizational population. The results also suggest that the organizational ecology paradigm can be extended if the movement dynamic is explicitly considered as it may reveal the operation of under-theorized mechanisms not attended to in typical founding, growth, and survival models.
doi:10.5465/ambpp.2003.13792399 fatcat:s4q4klu4qvfrxi5overmrvruwa