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Qualifying “fit”: the performance dynamics of firms’ change tracks through organizational configurations


Meuer, Johannes; Rupietta, Christian (2015). Qualifying “fit”: the performance dynamics of firms’ change tracks through organizational configurations. Compasss Working Papers 2014-81, Compasss.

Abstract

Organizational configurations, sets of firms with similarities in a number of essential characteristics, provide important insights into the synergies inherent to certain combinations of structural attributes and the performance effects of firms’ retention of, adaptation to, or decoupling from high-performing configurations. The fundamental assumption is that the better a firm’s “fit” with an ideal type configuration, the higher its performance. Although configurations are multidimensional constructs, researchers often simplify the dynamics of structural changes of configurations and the movement of firms within and between them. This simplification risks mis-specifying the organizational changes necessary for firms to achieve high performance. Using a mix of set-theoretic and econometric methods, we analyze a balanced panel of 244 Swiss firms in 2005, 2008, and 2011. We identify four temporally stable high-performing configurations: the “professional service firm,” the “organic,” the “mechanistic,” and the “small bureaucracy,” and demonstrate that even within this relatively short period, firms are exceptionally versatile in their change tracks. Thus high-performing configurations appear enduring not despite but because of firms' movements through these configurations. Furthermore, we demonstrate the complexity of the fit-performance association and argue that firms with a good fit will not only benefit from implementing an efficient yet firm-unspecific organizational structure, but will—through this configuration additionally improve their ability to exploit inimitable firm-specific resources.

Abstract

Organizational configurations, sets of firms with similarities in a number of essential characteristics, provide important insights into the synergies inherent to certain combinations of structural attributes and the performance effects of firms’ retention of, adaptation to, or decoupling from high-performing configurations. The fundamental assumption is that the better a firm’s “fit” with an ideal type configuration, the higher its performance. Although configurations are multidimensional constructs, researchers often simplify the dynamics of structural changes of configurations and the movement of firms within and between them. This simplification risks mis-specifying the organizational changes necessary for firms to achieve high performance. Using a mix of set-theoretic and econometric methods, we analyze a balanced panel of 244 Swiss firms in 2005, 2008, and 2011. We identify four temporally stable high-performing configurations: the “professional service firm,” the “organic,” the “mechanistic,” and the “small bureaucracy,” and demonstrate that even within this relatively short period, firms are exceptionally versatile in their change tracks. Thus high-performing configurations appear enduring not despite but because of firms' movements through these configurations. Furthermore, we demonstrate the complexity of the fit-performance association and argue that firms with a good fit will not only benefit from implementing an efficient yet firm-unspecific organizational structure, but will—through this configuration additionally improve their ability to exploit inimitable firm-specific resources.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Organizational configurations, performance dynamics, multi-level analysis, temporal, fsQCA, balanced panel
Language:English
Date:15 July 2015
Deposited On:23 Jul 2015 08:51
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 17:58
Series Name:Compasss Working Papers
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://www.compasss.org/wpseries/MeuerRupietta2015.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.compasss.org/wpseries.htm (Publisher)
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:12219

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