New working paper released: Thilo Scholz, Arnd Huchzermeier & Torsten Kuehlmann (2018): “Antecedents of Behavior Supporting Bottom-up Operations Strategy Formation”. WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management, 32 p.
Abstract: Problem definition: Companies with high levels of bottom-up participation in operations strategy formation significantly outperform their peers in terms of productivity improvements. Unlike corporate strategy, operations strategy as a functional strategy can be influenced far more by operational employees through strategy-supportive behavior than by managers. Practical Relevance: The literature on bottom-up initiatives is vague about the antecedents of voluntary contributions to operations strategy formation and simply views them as a “black box”; in research on the possible antecedents of employee behavior more generally, its relation to bottom-up operations strategy formation is likewise ignored. Our research fills this void. Methodology: Survey data from 209 respondents is analyzed with structural equation modeling to test the hypothesized relationships. Results: This paper develops the operations strategy opportunity-motivation-ability (OMA) framework. Leaders have to establish autonomy and structured idea management processes (O) top-down. Only then, employees can engage (M) and feel strategically aligned (A) and thus contribute to operations strategy bottom-up. Second, we show that the indirect relations between top-down opportunities and behavior supporting bottom-up operations strategy formation are mediated by perceived strategic alignment and by employee engagement. Managerial Implications: Managers must first establish opportunities to behave strategy supportive. Only afterwards efforts to foster strategic alignment and employee engagement unlock the full potential of the contextual antecedents. Our findings enable operations managers to foster behavior supporting bottom-up operations strategy formation more effectively in their workforce.
Copies of the working paper can be requested at ah(at)whu.edu.