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  • 1
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 141-159 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - The diffusion of performance related pay has attracted considerable academic attention over the past decade. While much contemporary debate has focussed on the excesses of executive remuneration at the "big end of town", what is not so prominent are the views of unions representing employees at the other end of the remuneration spectrum: this is the purpose of this paper. Design/methodology/approach - Evidence was gathered at two levels using two sets of research instruments: in-depth interviews with senior union officials, and primary documentation analysis with specific reference to performance appraisal and performance-related pay clauses in union Enterprise Bargaining Agreements. Findings - Document analysis reveals that performance appraisal and performance-related pay clauses range from mere stipulation of existence to detailed processes and principles of design and implementation. Specific clauses in the white-collar unions' agreements suggest that they are not totally opposed. However, the lack of performance appraisal and performance-related pay clauses in the blue-collar unions' agreements illustrate their propensity to restrict pay increases to a job classification structure. Although there were clauses that aimed to ensure a performance-oriented culture, their agreements seem to be mere sentiments. Overall, only one union supports the notion of performance related pay; the others find performance appraisals difficult to embrace. Negative experiences and consequent problems lead them to argue that the process is complicated and usually puts workers at a disadvantage. Originality/value - Strands of different explanations account for union opposition, but the principal issue is that performance appraisal has only an evaluative function, that is to link performance to pay. To minimise problems in shaping PRP schemes, the unions advocated the integration of a social dimension; transparency and equality.
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  • 2
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 238-258 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This paper aims to examine union and non-union consultation and representative arrangements at South West Water (SWW) over a ten-year period, from 1992 to 2002. Design/methodology/approach - The paper attempts to fill the gap in the current research by examining the processes leading from union derecognition, non-union employee representation (NER), to recognition of union representation using SWW as an example. Findings - The SWW experience suggests that any representative structures within firms need to have full support of the majority of employees and to have been seen as being organic to the workplace rather than an imposed arrangement by management. Without such a bottom-up approach, the legitimacy and respect for such arrangements will diminish, creating obstacles for developing meaningful dialogue and trust between management, staff and unions. For unions, maintaining high membership density, while no guarantee of continuing recognition, creates an environment of strong union organisation and representation at workplace level. Originality/value - As the experience at SWW has shown, where unions have been excluded from the workplace, maintaining a presence through the representation of individual employee interests and through colonisation of NER structures has been shown to pay dividends in the long run. However, a recognition agreement is not enough on its own to secure new members and unions need to be effective and relevant to the workforce.
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  • 3
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 259-271 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - To examine non-union channels of employee voice in the Auckland hotel industry over ten years in order to determine the efficacy of non-union employee representation in a lightly unionised service sector context. Design/methodology/approach - The study draws on a longitudinal study of employment relations in the Auckland hotel industry. Interview and archival data were collected in three waves between 1993 and 2003. A case study of a single hotel illustrates the analysis. Findings - A majority of the hotels studied have adopted and continue to develop an array of non-union voice channels. While hotel management retain their traditional decision-making prerogatives and worker influence is constrained, there is evidence that interest in developing non-union voice channels to gauge employees' concerns and interests at work is valued by management, albeit for instrumental reasons. Research limitations/implications - Major limitations include the lack of employee data and sample composition: large hotels in one region only. Further research, incorporating data on employee attitudes and perceptions, is required in order to understand employees' expectations and desires for influence at work and the reasons for any perceived efficacy. Originality/value - This study shows that, contrary to the dominant view that they are of little or no value, non-union voice channels may provide workers in a non-union setting with a measure of influence that would otherwise be denied.
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  • 4
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 289-306 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore a number of issues pertaining to the conceptualisation, operationalisation, feasibility and effectiveness of workplace partnership arrangements in a non-unionised setting. Design/methodology/approach - The paper discusses the most common definitions of partnership to discern whether scope exists for non-unionised forms. It then presents a detailed case study, based on 38 semi-structured interviews with 29 interviewees, inside a non-unionised company to analyse whether its people management arrangements conform with the definitions presented, and to examine the employees' experience of those arrangements. Findings - The paper notes that most partnership definitions can accommodate non-unionised forms, if the arrangements for people management inside such firms meet certain standards on employee voice mechanisms and the exchange of mutual gains. The evidence from the case study suggests that its unusual policies and practices do conform with a viable model of non-unionised partnership - albeit with some reservations. The benefits and concerns are discussed in the paper. Research implications/limitations - The paper presents a credible definition and observable operationalisation of partnership for researchers to adopt. It encourages future research on the extent to which so-called "partnership" organisations, including non-union enterprises, comply and suggests comparative research between paired unionised and non-unionised cases. However, it is limited to one case study. Originality/value - The paper's primary value is in its extension of the partnership debate beyond its current "union-only ghetto" into examining non-unionised forms, as well. The case study is also unique in the literature as an example of non-unionised partnership.
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  • 5
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 272-288 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Recent years have witnessed a growing academic preoccupation with the theme of employee voice. This article seeks to examine the efficacy of non-union forms of employee representation (NERs). Design/methodology/approach - Further to an exploration of the above theme, case study research was carried out in an organisation possessing a relatively mature representative structure. Findings - The findings broadly support the extant literature in exposing key deficiencies with respect to this mode of voice. The body under review is seen to represent a largely unavailing vehicle for the furtherance of employee interests - particularly within the arena of pay determination. Research limitations/implications - In the light of the above findings the policy implications are briefly explored. Reservations are expressed regarding the ability of the Information and Consultation Directive to extend voice into the non-union sector. Originality/value - In contrast with the earlier, predominantly descriptive studies of NERs, the theme of "voice" is ensconced within a theoretically informed analysis. This allows the paper to reach a more textured set of conclusions. The shortcomings in voice are systematically tracked to deficiencies in two principal areas - power and autonomy.
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  • 6
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 307-319 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Given the emergence of new legal initiatives for union recognition, declining levels of union membership and the growth of alternative forms of employee representation, this paper aims to examine the management of employee voice in non-union firms. Design/methodology/approach - The research adopts a case study approach in seven non-union organisations from different sectors of economic activity in the UK. Several themes guided the design of the research instruments. Interviews were conducted with managerial respondents responsible for the design and implementation of employee voice at each case study, including non-personnel practitioners. Findings - Provides information on: the meaning of non-union voice; the range of practices adopted; the potential outcomes; and apparent barriers to the implementation of non-union voice arrangements. Research limitations/implications - The research collected data from managerial respondents only, and this limitation is noted. Further research in this area is suggested, particularly from employee stakeholders involved in the processes of employee involvement. Originality/value - The paper addresses a gap on employee voice in non-union settings. It suggests that it is too simple to dismiss voice in non-union organisations as ineffective and inconsequential.
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  • 7
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 325-339 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Aims to illustrate how Japan possesses cultural characteristics to support mentoring as a relationship, as opposed to the West, whose favoured approach is to view mentoring as a strategy. Design/methodology/approach - A comparative analysis of the mentoring literature from two world views; the Japanese mentoring context (primarily the senpai-kohai relationship) is compared and contrasted with the Western mentoring context. Findings - The US and European context for mentoring increasingly consists of formalised schemes, targeted at specific groups (such as the talented or socially disadvantaged), and forms a co-ordinated activity of human resource departments. As Western organisations have changed, mentoring has become defined in strategic terms, and aligned with a variety of popular management theories. In contrast, Japanese views of mentoring are characterised by informality, organic growth of relationships at all organisational levels, and are based on emotional bonds between seniors and juniors. Practical implications - A very useful source to explain why Western organisations find it difficult to establish mentoring relationships based on emotional bonds. The Japanese show that there is an alternative; one requiring many Western organisations to adapt their organisational cultures and re-conceptualise their views of mentoring. Originality/value - This paper brings together the few contributions by authors of the Japanese senpai-kohai relationship (a form of mentoring exclusive to Japan). It compares a rarely examined context in the mentoring debate (i.e. Eastern views of mentoring) with the larger body of work examining mentoring in the West. Originality resides in the results of the comparative analysis, revealing one context which views mentoring as a relationship, and another which views mentoring as a strategy.
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  • 8
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 340-353 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Seeks to investigate decisions by small unions to engage in "transfers of engagement" whereby they are in effect "absorbed" by a larger union. Design/methodology/approach - Uses case study evidence from two small unions in the UK carpet industry. The study is based on interviews with officials who were involved in the merger decisions, and on supporting documentary evidence. Findings - The findings show that small unions have significant bargaining strength in merger negotiations and that they use this power to determine when merger is right for them, with whom they merge, and the terms of their transfer. Research limitations/implications - The case studies rely heavily on evidence from union officials and officers - the authors acknowledge that the attitudes and influence of the wider union membership were beyond the scope of the research. They also propose that it would be valuable to carry out a longitudinal study of the impact of mergers over time. Practical implications - Suggests that the actions and motivations of small unions, and barriers to their merger, need to feature more centrally in explanations of mergers in the UK. Originality/value - The paper shows how structural influences interact with individual and group decisions in merger situations. Also provides a useful survey of the literature on aspects of union mergers.
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  • 9
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 369-385 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This article aims to explore the nature of contemporary HRM practice in Mozambique, and the extent to which "best practice" HRM strategies are likely to emerge, given present institutional realities. Design/methodology/approach - The research was based on an extensive survey of Mozambican employers concentrated in the major urban centres of the country. Findings - The survey revealed little evidence of innovation or of leading edge practices, other than in a small minority of firms. It is concluded that the diffusion of higher value added managerial strategies is only likely to take place in a more supportive institutional context. Practical implications - The failure of innovative HRM techniques to diffuse across the economy, despite heightened external pressures, highlights organizational inertia, including the continued reliance of many firms on low-paid and low-skilled workers, and on autocratic paternalism. It remains uncertain whether a more "high value" added path is viable in a context of cut-throat competition from abroad. Originality/value - The Mozambique experience underscores the importance of an institutional context which encourages firms to buy into mutually advantageous sets of rules governing fair play and limits the rewards accruing to bad practice. Whilst the more efficient enforcement of legislation may encourage the broader adoption of "high road" practices, their sustainability is, at least in part, contingent on the diffusion and reconstitution of supportive conventions; regrettably, this makes it extremely difficult to depart from the low value added path.
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  • 10
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 354-368 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This study aims to examine how empowerment is perceived by individuals employed on construction projects. In contrast with previous research which has predominantly been conducted from a management perspective, this paper deals with employee perceptions of empowerment. Design/methodology/approach - A qualitative approach was adopted for this study employing in-depth interviews on four major construction projects. Findings - The findings from the study indicate that there can be a gap between the employee experience and the management rhetoric. Health and Safety issues were often cited by the employees as a major barrier to empowerment. The strict Health and Safety regulations under which construction employees operate limit their freedom to influence the work that they undertake. A further factor that was found to have a strong influence on the diffusion of empowerment was the role of the employees' immediate supervisor. Research limitations/implications - The data are based on case studies that illuminate our understanding of empowerment in relation to construction projects. This area of research would benefit from alternative research approaches that could establish the generalizability of the findings reported. Originality/value - This article explores the notion that, as empowerment is a perception, management cannot easily regulate employees' empowerment. This emphasises the importance of exploring employee perspectives when examining employee empowerment and its impact on workplace relations.
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  • 11
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 386-412 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - The European Works Council (EWC) Directive reflects a shift to a softer style of governance which has been adopted by the EU in recent years. This article sets out to explore how successful this soft style governance is when implemented at the national level. Design/methodology/approach - The paper introduces the literature on the subject and shows that two main theses have been developed to date; one which favours the softer mechanism of governance and one which is critical of it. Two propositions are developed from the literature. The article explores them by examining them in light of the manner in which the Directive has bedded down in the Irish context. It does this through a micro and macro analysis of material available on the EWC in Ireland and a series of interviews. Ireland is regarded as a suitable arena in which to explore these propositions. Findings - The article finds that the EWC Directive was implemented in Ireland in a manner which was deemed suitable for its smooth integration into the Irish context. However, the transposition's flexible nature is such that it is unclear that it has made any significant contribution to Ireland's system of industrial relations. It is suggested that the EU may not yet have developed a form of governance suitable for a disparate, expanding community. Originality/value - The paper provides a micro-analysis of how the EWC Directive has been transposed in one Member State (Ireland). It combines this with a macro-analysis which enables us to compare the Irish transposition with other Member States. This approach indicates that the Directive has been applied in a very heterogeneous style throughout the Member States, which tends to reproduce indigenous industrial relations systems rather than reform or challenge them.
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  • 12
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 413-424 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - HRM is supposed to increase job satisfaction. But does it also increase client satisfaction? Sets out to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach - The unit of analysis is the home. Using data from a benchmark study among Dutch homes for elderly care, 154 homes were scored on three groups of indicators: HRM activities as experienced by employees, employee satisfaction, and client satisfaction. Scores were based on interviews with 3,542 patients and surveys of 12,193 employees. Findings - HRM does affect job and client satisfaction. Correlations between HRM and client satisfaction were generally rather low. Employees' satisfaction with their organisation is a better predictor of client satisfaction than job satisfaction. Job-related training showed no relation with job satisfaction, but a clear relation with client satisfaction, while leadership style of their manager had a significant relation with job satisfaction, and a more limited one with client satisfaction. Regular performance reviews are important for job satisfaction and client satisfaction. Employee and client satisfaction can also conflict: more regular schedules increase employee satisfaction, but decrease client satisfaction. Research limitations/implications - To decide on best practices the correlations found need to be explained. For instance, why do performance reviews correlate with employee satisfaction and with client satisfaction about employee expertise? Practical implications - These results confirm the importance of the leadership style of line managers. Helping middle management to develop a supportive and transparent leadership style can improve employee satisfaction. The HRM activity most relevant for client satisfaction seems to be job-related training. Originality/value - The paper is unique in combining data on employee and client satisfaction. It is of interest both to HRM researchers and to health-care management.
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  • 13
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 425-436 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This exploratory study aims to compare job demands, work outcomes, social and coping resources and indicators of psychological and physical health of male and female police officers in Norway. Design/methodology/approach - Data were collected using anonymously completed questionnaires. Findings - Many demographic differences were present in that male officers were older, worked more hours and overtime hours, were more likely to work continuous shiftwork, worked in smaller forces and were less educated. Few differences were found on job demands but male officers experienced more violence and threat, and female officers more harassment and discrimination. The two groups were generally similar on work satisfactions, social and coping resources and psychological and physical health. Research limitations/implications - All data were collected using questionnaires raising the possibility of common method variance. It is also not clear extent to what these findings generalize to police officers in other countries. Practical implications - While few differences were found between male and female police officers, the fact that females reported more harassment and discrimination suggests that police forces need to continue to address these gender issues. Originality/value - While other studies of police officers have suggested widespread gender differences, few appeared here.
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  • 14
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 441-458 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Although the phenomenon of organisational silence is widely seen in organisations, there is little empirical evidence regarding its nature and main components. This paper aims at investigating the dimensions of silence climate as they are perceived by individuals and exploring the effects of these dimensions on job attitudes. Design/methodology/approach - In a sample of 677 employees, three dimensions of silence climate are constructed and measured in order to examine their effects on employee silence behaviour, organisational commitment and job satisfaction. Findings - Results indicate that supervisors' attitudes to silence, top management attitudes to silence and communication opportunities are associated and predict employees' silence behaviour. These three dimensions are also associated with organisational commitment and job satisfaction. Originality/value - Although the phenomenon of organisational silence is expected in organisations, there is little empirical evidence in the literature aimed at defining it, analysing it and coping with it. Silence climate has an impact on organizations' ability to detect errors and learn and, therefore, organizational effectiveness is negatively affected. This exploratory study aims to measure organisational silence as a continuum between silence and voice explain silence behaviour through organisational climate dimensions. Based on the findings of this study, there are some important implications that are discussed.
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  • 15
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 459-477 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Aims to test Walton and McKersie's theory on labour negotiations, specifically in the case of German car manufacturers. Design/methodology/approach - The research is based on interviews with industrial actors in Germany's car industry - an empirical case study. Findings - The article explains the structural force behind the managerial drive towards production. While German managers act at an enterprise level, a structural force has been responsible for the success of Germany's post-WW II manufacturing. Germany's collective bargaining structure removed wage and working-time bargaining from local management and opened four managerial options: production, productivity, innovation, and quality. This structure forced management to focus on these four options because they lie within the realm of management prerogative. The article explains how structural divisions between intra-enterprise level arrangements and extra-enterprise level collective bargaining at a conceptual level can best be understood. Originality/value - Argues that a regional and industry collective bargaining structure has supported the success of a competitive car industry in Germany.
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  • 16
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 478-494 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This study seeks systematically to investigate the extent to which the documented aims of formal work-family policies are being achieved at the level of individual employees. Design/methodology/approach - Consistency between policy and practice in the case study organization was explored via an analysis of organizational documents which described work-family policies and 20 interviews with employed women with dependent children. Findings - Results show that the use of flexible work arrangements was consistent with aims related to balance and productivity. However, women's experiences and perceptions of part-time employment conflicted with policies aiming to support the same career opportunities as full-time employees. Research limitations/implications - The nature of the organization and its policies as well as certain characteristics of the sample may limit the generalizability of findings to other sectors and groups of employees. Practical implications - The research highlights the need to assess whether work-family policies are experienced as intended, a process which may contribute to future policy development and assist human resource specialists to promote genuine balance between work and non-work responsibilities. Originality/value - The results inform the current understanding of how organizational policy translates into practice.
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  • 17
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 495-510 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Previous research on psychological contracts has assumed that managers play a unidimensional role as either a contractual agent or an employee of the organization. These assumptions are examined in light of a recent article advocating a "multiple foci" conceptualization of psychological contracts. Design/methodology/approach - As psychological contracts become increasingly salient in times of rapid change, qualitative data from 16 nurse managers in a post-merger hospital consolidation were examined. Findings - Results indicate that managers have a bi-directional obligation with both the organization and their subordinates. Specifically, managers have strong upward contracts with top management with regard to material support, resources, and strategic communication. Manager-to-subordinate contracts, on the other hand, reflect a greater emphasis on the areas of employee involvement and emotional support. Practical implications - These findings challenge researchers and practitioners to explicitly consider a multiple foci conceptualization of psychological contracts, particularly in the context of organizational change. In practice, this means that one must dedicate more attention to uncovering the constituents with whom managers hold psychological contracts, as well as how managers prioritize their multiple contracts within the organization. Originality/value - Given the conflictual role managers often face in a post-merger environment, it may be increasingly difficult to understand managerial contracts using traditional approaches. Although exploratory, this study provides the first empirical support for the above recent argument, and suggests that taking into account the multifaceted content and structure of managerial contracts may play a critical role in successful change initiatives.
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  • 18
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 511-531 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to test the ability of the theory of planned behaviour to predict worker intent towards an employee involvement (EI) programme, and the impact of union identification on workers' decision making. Design/methodology/approach - Union workers at a small manufacturing company in the Midwestern United States completed two questionnaires. The first questionnaire provided measures of the attitudinal, normative, and behavioural control components of the theory of planned behaviour and the degree to which they identified with their labour union. In the second questionnaire, the same respondents answered questions to measure their intention to support or oppose an employee involvement (EI) programme. Findings - Intentions to support EI were accurately predicted from attitudes, normative support, and perceived behavioural control (0.05 level). Level of union identification moderated the impact of attitudes on intention to support EI for workers that did not identify heavily with the labour union (0.05 level), but did not moderate the effect of normative support on intention for workers who identified heavily with the labour union. Research limitations/implications - The results indicate that the theory of planned behaviour has the potential to be an effective tool in predicting the behavioural outcomes of union members in the workplace, and that the level of union identification affects decision making. Research is limited by same source methodology and no direct measure of behaviour. Practical implications - Leaders, labour and management, who intend to implement new programmes, should give strong consideration to how workers' social cohorts influence their decision making and plan for this contingency when considering programme changes. Originality/value - The level of union identification influences perception and decision making but has not been considered in models of member decision making. EI research has tended to center on EI as the antecedent to outcomes such as job satisfaction, cooperation, retention, and quality of work life. This paper addresses the role of union identification in support for EI programmes, and uses a well-established behavioural theory to explain workers' decision-making process.
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  • 19
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 532-546 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - To investigate the impact of the working time regulations (WTR) in the hospitality industry and dynamics of the employment relationship within the case study firms. Design/methodology/approach - A qualitative case study approach was used, interviewing 18 respondents over two case study organisations. Line managers, personnel specialists, employees and trade union representatives were interviewed in each case. Findings - Both case studies were largely unaffected by the WTR. This was due to both the high amount of numerical and temporal flexibility afforded by large part-time workforces and to harmonious employment relations. The design of the Regulations also brings the Government's commitment to the WTR into doubt. On rare occasions where there was a departure from the basic regulations these were generally accounted for by the many derogations contained within the legislation and were with the full consent of employees. Research limitations/implications - It is hard to generalise from this research alone which is relatively small-scale. The study suggests reasons for the unproblematic nature of the WTR which could be tested using large-scale statistically representative methods. The occurrence of "accidental compliance" is of particular interest for future research. Practical implications - Identifies the way in which the WTR allow "accidental compliance" and would be useful for review by policy makers. Originality/value - The WTR remains relatively under-researched and the study draws interesting comparisons with earlier research. The qualitative approach allows the role of the actors to be identified in determining the effect of the dynamics of the employment relationship on compliance patterns, which covers an empirical "gap" in the literature.
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  • 20
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 566-580 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This paper sets out to describe the experiences of the Hungarian Trade Unions as they adapted to the political and economic changes of the post-communist period. The paper lucidly explains how and why the trade union movement in Hungary made the transition from being a major player in every aspect of political, economic and social life in the old regime, to being a mere shadow of its former self in the early. Design/methodology/approach - The author paints a vivid picture of "how" and "why" the trade unions were perceived in the "golden age of Socialism". He then explains why dissatisfaction and disillusionment of the workers grew as living standards and real income declined and Western Capitalism became more attractive. After the initial aphorism following the overthrow of communism, the Author analyses why many Hungarian workers by the late 90s yearned for a return to the securities and paternalism of the Kádár era. Findings - This Paper systematically traces the steps from Socialism to Capitalism in Hungary and the impact this had on organized labour. The author notes the paradox that at exactly the time that trade unions were rationalizing and merging into mega trade unions in the West, the newly freed trade union movement in Hungary and elsewhere in the CEE countries fragmentized and formed a multitude of small unions many of which would fold in months rather than years. The point is made that the transition to a neo-liberal economic and political system led almost immediately in Hungary to falling standard of living and rising job insecurity. Research limitations/implications - The account given in this paper of the changing nature of employee relations in Hungary spanning the communist and post-communist periods provides researchers with a sound base to explore further the paradoxes to which the author has referred. Originality/value - This paper provides a welcome, human account of what the changes and their consequences were for ordinary working people and their families and - most important - what they meant for organized labour in terms of its ability to enhance working peoples quality of life in Hungary.
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  • 21
    Electronic Resource
    [S.l.] : Emerald
    ISSN: 1355-5855
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: This article presents the results of a survey of 202 male Taiwanese consumers. In this study, consumer judgements of two technological products varying in their level of complexity made in highly, moderately, and newly industrialised countries were obtained in a multi-attribute context. The results show that the country-of-origin image of moderately and newly industrialised countries was less negative for technologically simpler products (i.e. a television) than they were for technologically complex products (i.e. a computer). It appears that the negative image of moderately and newly industrialised countries can be attenuated by making Taiwanese consumers more familiar with products made in these countries and/or by providing them with other product-related information such as brand name and warranty. Newly industrialised countries were perceived more negatively as countries of design than as countries of assembly, especially in the context of making technologically complex products. The image of foreign countries as producers of consumer goods was positively correlated with education. The more familiar consumers were with the products of a country, the more favourable was their evaluation of that country. Consumer involvement with purchasing a technologically complex product such as a computer was positively associated with the appreciation of products made in moderately industrialised countries. Managerial and research implications are derived from these results.
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  • 22
    Electronic Resource
    [S.l.] : Emerald
    ISSN: 1355-5855
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: In this article a proposal of a non-traditional methodology in achieving optimal flexibility with minimal inventory risk will be applied. The non-traditional methodology will be able to achieve different levels of the production schedule changes with maximum flexibility and minimal inventory risk. The basic principle, implementation methodology as well as its effectiveness and benefits will be discussed. In order to overcome the risk of achieving flexible manufacturing or enhancing supply chain management, this article will address issues on methods to accommodate production sequence changes which include total production quantity change in a short lead time. The study uses the Family Ordering System methodology which has proven capable in solving manufacturing flexibility issues by reducing the total manufacturing lead time. Family Ordering System provides the flexibility of model changes and reduces production line stoppage as a result of part shortage by carrying extra inventory of unique parts.
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  • 23
    Electronic Resource
    [S.l.] : Emerald
    ISSN: 1355-5855
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: In the discount store area, foreign large retailers such as Wal-mart, Carrefour, and Costco fight hard with domestic retailers in Korea. The Korean customer is a judge in the centre of such a difficult fight. Therefore, foreign retailers who are willing to win the game should pay attention to what Koreans say and respond to the complaint as fast as they can. This study monitored e-complaints of customers towards Korea Carrefour through analysing contents of the bulletin board in an anti-Carrefour site. Upon examining e-complaints by category and retail attributes, there were found to be more complaints in electrical goods and food and groceries by product category, and in employee attitudes and store atmosphere by retail attributes. The implications for successful retail strategies of foreign discount stores in Korea are discussed and further research is suggested.
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  • 24
    Electronic Resource
    [S.l.] : Emerald
    ISSN: 1355-5855
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: The aims of this article is to analyse whether there are differences in green advertisement attitudes between high involved and low involved consumers, to compare high and low involvement consumer's cognitive responses and affective responses towards advertisements and examine the extent of the importance on certain themes that both high involvement and low involvement consumers consider. Themes such as company image, environmental labels, and product recycling symbols. A random sample of 207 consumers was taken from Victoria (Australia). The study shows that there are differences between the two groups in terms of their attitude towards green advertising with respect to all the dimensions and the low involved customers appear to have a stronger disregard for the green advertising across all the perceptive measures towards green advertising. The findings provide useful insights to practitioners as to the type of themes preferred for green advertising.
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  • 25
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Employee relations 27 (2005), S. 592-602 
    ISSN: 0142-5455
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This paper aims to provide a Norwegian perspective of how trade unions in the former Soviet block countries have dealt with the challenges of the post-communist period and how the European trade union movement has attempted to assist them as they have adjusted to representing and protecting the interests of workers in a market economy. Design/methodology/approach - This paper considers the point that the experiences of trade union development in the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe should not be assumed to have followed some monolithic pattern. Findings - Each of the individual states experienced challenges that were unique to them and which reflected the economic, geographical and social situation they found themselves in when they took the "leap in the dark" at the end of the 1990s. The speed at which they made the transition to a market economy was also quite diverse with some countries such a Czech Republic and Hungary making progress quickly whilst others, for understandable reasons, were much slower off the mark. Research limitations/implications - One of the main thrusts of this paper is the diversity of experience amongst the former Soviet block countries both prior to and after the 1989 changes. The paper invites researchers to explore this diversity further in terms of causality and the impact of this diversity on the democratisation process of Central and Eastern European Countries. Originality/value - Provides a timely reminder of the dangers of perceiving trade unions in the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe as replicas of their counterparts in the West. The picture he paints of the diversity of the region, the weakness of national trade union headquarters starved of funds to pursue industrial objectives by local trade union organisations who have a "holiday club" mentality and retain the bulk of the income for social and welfare benefits reminds us of the extreme difficulties that face trade unions in CEE countries as the strive to build strong and effective organisations capable of challenging multinational conglomerates.
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  • 26
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 10-22 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - A distinguishing feature of the successful "post-Network Age" enterprise is its intrinsic entrepreneurial character that manifests itself in key organizational knowledge practices relating to organizational culture, processes, content and infrastructure. The purpose of this article is to explore organizational knowledge-based practices. Design/methodology/approach - The article reports on the outcome of field research in which entrepreneurial firms in four geographic regions were analyzed with the help of a diagnostic research tool specifically developed for profiling organizational knowledge-based practices. The diagnostic tool was applied in firms located in Silicon Valley in the USA, Singapore, The Netherlands and Israel. Findings - Key practices that were found to be common to leading-edge firms in all regions included: a propensity for experimentation; collective sharing of knowledge, and collective decision making. The paper describes the research in terms of a cross-cultural comparison of the four regions, derives key determinants of competitiveness, profiles regional characteristics which enhance innovation and entrepreneurship and closes with a discussion on the implications of the research outcomes for entrepreneurial firms seeking to build a global presence. Originality/value - The research provides evidence that innovative, entrepreneurial firms - no matter where they are located - tend to exhibit organizational knowledge practices, cultural beliefs, values and behavioral norms that are more akin than dissimilar, regardless of national context.
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  • 27
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 23-34 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Over the past decade, the social power taxonomy has been applied in many organizational contexts. This study aims to examine the issue of organizational values as antecedents of social power. Design/methodology/approach - A total of 187 Israeli MBA students participated in a study of power and values, as measured by organizational practices and behaviors. Findings - Findings indicated that soft power bases were preferred over harsh, as expected. In addition, support for the hypothesis of an interaction affect was obtained as charismatic leaders in a complex work environment used punishment very rarely. The findings were discussed in terms of the use in organizations of power strategies as a function of values. Originality/value - Although the main independent variables, organizational type (routine vs complex) and leadership style (transformational vs transactional), had each been studied independently, this was the first study of their interaction.
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  • 28
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 35-49 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - The current leadership literature has paid little attention to understanding the intervening mechanism by which leaders influence followers. In order to partially bridge this gap, the article aims to present a value-fit charismatic leadership theory which focusses on the key intervening mechanism - person-organization values fit. Design/methodology/approach - The model was tested empirically on 180 participants, including 51 managers and 129 employees from 37 large-scale companies in Taiwan. Findings - Based on the block regression analysis, the results showed that CEO charismatic leadership has both direct and indirect effects on employees' extra effort to work, satisfaction with the CEO, as well as organizational commitment, which are mediated by employees' perceived person-organization values fit. The findings also provided evidence that the relationship between charismatic leadership and person-organization values fit is significant. Furthermore, the analysis also showed the significant effects of person-organization values fit on employee outcomes. Originality/value - The study shows how CEO charismatic leadership can, through the mediating effect of person-organization values fit, have profound influence on employee outcomes.
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  • 29
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 116-139 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - There is now a large amount of literature on gender wage differentials, but only a few studies have examined why men and women end up in different jobs and at different levels. This paper aims to study the extent of differences in career mobility between men and women. Design/methodology/approach - The issue is analysed with the help of event history analysis based on Swedish event history data. Findings - The authors find that differences do exist in career mobility between women and men. Women's chances of getting a better job are about half those of men. However, when analysing employees with more than 12 years in education, the difference between men and women is smaller. Part of the difference between women and men is explained by family-related factors. Women spend much more time in family-related non-market activities and these factors also have a negative effect on their chances of career mobility. Originality/value - This paper is useful to those wishing to examine the extent of differences in career mobility between men and women.
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  • 30
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 140-156 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - The two main purposes of the paper are: first, to provide an empirical test of the widely-held view among employers that overqualified workers are less committed as evidenced by heightened levels of job search, and second, to evaluate the three explanations of overqualification (matching theory, the theory of differential overqualification, and the career mobility hypothesis) in which job search plays a central role. Design/methodology/approach - Maximum likelihood probit estimation is conducted on a sample of employed Canadians aged 18 and over who were surveyed in 2000. Predictors of job search are derived from the economic assumption that the employee's decision to undertake job search depends on a cost-benefit assessment. Findings - The empirical results indicate that overqualified workers are more active job searchers, and lend support to the matching theory view that overqualification is sub-optimal from the worker's perspective. Originality/value - This paper adds to the small number of European studies exploring the connection between overqualification and job search. The impacts of overqualification are especially important for Canadian employers given the high incidence of overqualification of the Canadian work force.
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  • 31
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 157-176 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This study tries to explore through multiple case studies how expatriate performance management is conducted in multinational enterprises (MNEs) of different national origins. Design/methodology/approach - Multiple interviews were conducted with expatriate employees and human resource managers of five MNE subsidiaries operating in the information technology industry, namely, Applied Material (American), Philips (Dutch), Hitachi (Japanese), Samsung (Korean), and Winbond (Taiwan). Findings - The findings show that all of the firms surveyed use standardized performance forms set by headquarters, which are not tailored to local operating environments. Also, lack of on-the-job training for expatriates was found to be prevalent among the five MNE subsidiaries. Divergent practices in goal setting, performance appraisal, and performance-related pay were largely attributed to the parent company's culture. The nature of the expatriate mission was another reason for different arrangements in expatriate performance management. Originality/value - This study is one of the first to explore expatriate performance management practices of multinational firms. There does not seem to exist a prevalent form of expatriate performance management and such a practice is to some extent more strongly subjected to the influence of the parent company's culture.
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  • 32
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 177-195 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - The goal of the present study is to examine the influence of five dimensions of organizational culture (i.e. job challenge, communication, trust, innovation and social cohesiveness) on employees' withdrawal intentions and behavior. Specifically, three forms of employees' withdrawal intentions (i.e. from the occupation, job, and organization), and one form of employees' withdrawal behavior (i.e. self-reported absenteeism) are examined. Design/methodology/approach - The paper investigates these relationships among social workers in the Israeli health care system through a structured questionnaire. Regression analyses were employed to test the research hypotheses. Findings - The findings of this study indicate that an organizational culture that provides challenging jobs, diminishes employees' absenteeism, and withdrawal intentions from the occupation, job, and the organization. The results also show that other dimensions of organizational culture were not significantly correlated with the dependent variables, with the exception of the relationship between a culture of innovation and employees' withdrawal intentions from the job. Originality/value - This study contributes to a better understanding of the influence of organizational contexts (e.g. culture) on the development of multiple withdrawal intentions and behaviors among social service employees in the health care sector.
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  • 33
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 196-206 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This paper aims to measure the efficiency and productivity of Swedish employment offices. Design/methodology/approach - Using four inputs, five outputs, and two quality attributes the efficiency and productivity of 253 Swedish employment offices are evaluated using models of relative technical efficiency and Malmquist productivity indices. The results are computed as solutions to linear programming problems for the 1992-1995 periods. Findings - Results of the study find that the mean efficiency across offices varies between 74 and 78 percent. The mean productivity change demonstrates a decrease of 11 percent during the 1992-1993 period, and an increase of 7 and 13 percents during 1993-1994 and 1994-1995 respectively. Research limitations/implications - Different background characteristics of job seekers could possibly bias the result for some of the offices. Further research could use a dynamic model where different job seeker characteristics are taken into consideration. Practical implications - The paper provides an opportunity for inefficient/low productivity offices to study how offices identified as more efficient are producing their services. Originality/value - This paper demonstrates how efficiency and productivity could be measured in a multi-input, multi-output employment office service sector setting where quality aspects are allowed to play a part.
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  • 34
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 364-381 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This study aims to analyse the relationship between innovation and human resource management (HRM) from an empirical perspective, attempting to establish whether innovation determines the firm's HRM or conversely HRM influences the innovation level of the company Design/methodology/approach - Literature is reviewed from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. On the basis of this review, some research hypotheses are formulated. Finally, these hypotheses are empirically tested on a sample of Spanish firms. Findings - The results provide evidence for both hypotheses and offer more support for Schuler and Jackson's model than for Miles and Snow's model. In accordance with the previous literature, that in order to affect employee behaviour - and consequently promote company objectives - firms must develop a bundle of internally consistent HRM practices. However, what is still unresolved is which HRM practices should be included in that system. Originality/value - Fills a gap in the literature, particularly in empirical research, with a focus on Spanish firms.
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  • 35
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 382-396 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Outsourcing is gaining considerable popularity in the field of business services and management. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the practice of outsourcing human resource management (HRM) functions, such as training, staffing, rewards and restructuring, in Greece. Design/methodology/approach - The analysis draws upon both primary and secondary data. The findings of the 1999 CRANET survey and a study on the companies that offer HRM services in Greece are used to set the frame of analysis. A series of in-depth interviews with HR managers and senior HRM consultants are used to support the quantitative data. Findings - The analysis suggests that the Greek market of HRM services is still at an initial stage of development, with limited credibility, while the customers lack the experience of managing outsourcing relations and are reluctant to establish a partnership- type HRM outsourcing agreement. Considerable differences are identified between the Greek market for HRM services and those of more developed markets. Originality/value - The description of the Greek market of HRM services can be useful to vendors and users of HRM services, as well as researchers dealing with outsourcing in small markets.
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  • 36
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 404-420 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - International organizations pursue multiple objectives in hiring policies including cultural diversity, reducing costs and avoiding discrimination among which there can be sharp trade-offs. The paper has the purpose of studying how these trade-offs are resolved in the World Bank's hiring processes. Design/methodology/approach - The paper estimates that half of salary and grade differentials between men and women and staff from high- and low-income countries are attributable to differences in productive characteristics. Alternative explanations for the remainder are explored, including omitted variable bias, quotas and discrimination. Findings - The paper argues that the salary and grade differentials and differences in productive characteristics are not compelling explanations. Discrimination probably exists, though less than would be implied by a cost minimizing hiring policy. Originality/value - Provides a discussion of the World Bank's hiring processes.
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  • 37
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 421-433 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - During recent years, the Dutch labour market has developed from a buyers' market into a sellers' market. Consequently employers had to increase their efforts to find suitable staff. This paper aims to analyse the instruments employers use to contact with potential workers. To what extent do employers still rely on traditional means like advertisements in the paper or do they behave more actively, using the world wide web, visiting job fares et cetera. Design/methodology/approach - The authors conducted a survey among more than 1,000 employers in The Netherlands. Factor analyses and regression analyses are carried out to explain different recruitment strategies. Findings - The factor analyses show that the different recruitment methods can be traced back to three recruitment strategies. The first strategy was described as active and informal recruitment. The second strategy was called recruiting via the internet and the third is characterised by formal recruitment. The results suggest that many organisations - not in the least organisations in the local government sector - could gain a great deal from using a wider range of instruments to recruit new personnel. Originality/value - The paper analyses the instruments used by employers in search for potential workers.
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  • 38
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 434-449 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Previous studies suggest that strategic human resource management (SHRM) is beneficial to firm performance. This study seeks to investigate the moderating effect of product market strategy (PMS), one of the contextual factors, on the relationship between SHRM and firm performance. Design/methodology/approach - This study conducted a survey on 235 Taiwanese firms and hierarchical regression analysis was performed. Findings - The results failed to support the "universalistic" SHRM perspective. Only the interaction between an innovative PMS and SHRM exerted a significant effect on firm performance, which supporting the argument of the "contingency" perspective. The findings of this study confirmed the validity of the contingency model in an Asian society. Research limitations/implications - Different from most previous studies conducted in a Western context, this study examined the data of Taiwan, and thus examined a very different cultural and institutional environment. Although this study obtained valuable results, the limitations of the subjective data, number of measurement items and the cross-sectional design were discussed. In a future study, more work on revealing the influence of other unexplored factors to better understand the determinants of firm performance should be done. Practical implications - Coping with innovation needs, the degree to which traditional human resource management (THRM) is transformed into SHRM determines how well a firm is able to sustain and enhance growth. This will enable firms to keep pace with the rapid environmental changes associated with globalization. Originality/value - Investigates the moderating effect of PMS on the relationship between SHRM and firm performance in a Taiwanese context.
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  • 39
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    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 450-456 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Seeks to answer the question: "do certain occupations offer lower financial benefits to acquiring years of formal schooling than others?". Design/methodology/approach - This study uses data from the 2003 Current Population Survey to estimate rates of return to education across occupational categories in the US labor market. The wage model employed is based on the human capital model of income determination. Findings - The analysis suggests that additional schooling has a positive impact on the weekly earnings of men and women in both white- and blue-collar occupations - with the highest returns accruing to sales, managerial, and professional workers. Although returns are generally higher for white-collar workers, no link is found between the returns to schooling and the propensity of occupations to be comprised of "primary" or "secondary" sector jobs. Originality/value - Supports the notion that additional schooling increases the earnings of men and women in both blue- and white-collar occupations.
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  • 40
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    International journal of manpower 26 (2005), S. 457-472 
    ISSN: 0143-7720
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - This study proposes and tests a model that attempts to explain the role of situational and personal-related factors relating to why top executives become involved in their jobs. Design/methodology/approach - Building on job involvement, literature, the present study involved senior managers employed in public sector organizations in Israel. Data were collected through structured surveys. A total of 98 usable questionnaires were returned (a response rate of 37.4 percent). Path analysis, using AMOS 4.01 program, was conducted to assess the research model. Findings - The results indicate that both situational and personal-related factors predict job involvement. The findings show that the relationship between perceived external prestige and job involvement is mediated by affective commitment, and that the relationship between protestant work ethic and job involvement is mediated by normative commitment. Research limitations/implications - This research is one effort to unraveled situational and personal-related factors that affect the degree to which senior managers become highly involved in their job. The findings shed light on the process that job involvement is developed among senior executives. Future research, however, should apply a longitudinal design to fully understand the dynamic process of becoming involved in a job among people who are being promoted to senior managerial positions. Practical implications - Being involved in a job may produce both positive and negative consequences at both the individual and organization level. Thus, efforts should be directed to fit and balance expectations, needs and interests of both sides. Originality/value - This study provides useful information on the determinants of job involvement among top executives
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  • 41
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 55-63 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Robotic hands are still a long way from matching the grasping and manipulation capability of their human counterparts, but computer simulation may help us understand this disparity. We present our publicly available simulator, and describe our research projects involving the system including the development of a human hand model derived from experimental measurements. Design/methodology/approach - Unlike other simulation systems, our system was built specifically to analyze grasps. It can import a wide variety of robot designs by using standard descriptions of the kinematics and link geometries. Various components support the analysis of grasps, visualization of results, dynamic simulation of grasping tasks, and grasp planning. Findings - The simulator has been used in several grasping research problems and can be used to plan grasps for an actual robot. With the aid of a vision system, we have shown that these grasps can be executed by a robot. Research limitations/implications - We are currently developing methods to handle deformable surfaces, tendon driven models, and non-ideal joints in order to better model human grasping. Practical implications - This work is part of our current project to create a biomechanically realistic human hand model to better understand what features are most important to mimic in the designs of robotic hands. Such a model will also help clinicians better plan reconstructive hand surgeries. Originality/value - We describe our publicly available grasping simulator and review experiments performed with it. The paper demonstrates the usefulness of this system as a tool for grasping research.
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  • 42
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 117-119 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Highlights new robots introduced in the fall 2004 offer various benefits such as lower prices, internal cable management for arc welding, reduced floor space requirements, environmental protection and features for quicker application design and commissioning. Design/methodology/approach - Attended various trade shows and contacted key vendors for information on product introductions. Findings - Vendors are addressing more and more application needs with features like cable management/protection, smaller footprints, lower pricing, greater application integration and other features. Research limitations/implications - Not all the new products which may have been introduced have been covered. Practical implications - Users and systems integrators can find answers to previously troubling aspects of robot applications. Originality/value - Highlights new robot offerings that may be real problem solutions for users who previously considered a robot solution as not fully addressing their requirements.
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  • 43
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 120-127 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - The paper describes a pipe repair conducted in August 2004 using two types of snake-arm robot. The pipe was located 5?m below the reactor core of Ringhals 1 nuclear reactor. Design/methodology/approach - The two types of robot worked co-operatively to replace a section of critical pipe. The 23-degree of freedom arm snaked around obstructing pipes to positions cameras in a humanly unreachable location in order to give the ideal view of the work site. The more substantial second arm used 13 degrees of freedom to deliver fixtures, cutting tools, gas shields, inspection equipment and also conducted both tack welding and continuous welding. Findings - The leaking pipe was repaired manually during the 2004 outage. The robots successfully completed the externally assessed Factory Acceptance Tests which involved copying the complete procedure on a purpose built mock-up. The robots are now on standby for 2005 and beyond. Practical implications - The successful completion of this extremely difficult task indicates that snake-arm robots are now a viable solution to a variety of complex access tasks in all industries including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, the miltary sector and nuclear industries. Originality/value - The paper describes a procedure that has never been attempted before using two completely new designs of redundant snake-arm robot.
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  • 44
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 128-138 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - To construct a commercial agricultural manipulation for fruit picking and handling without human intervention. Design/methodology/approach - Describes a research activity involving a totally autonomous robot for fruit picking and handling crates. Findings - Picking time for the robotic fruit picker at 8.7?s per orange is longer than the evaluated cited time of 6?s per orange. Research limitations/implications - The final system, recently tested, has not yet achieved a level of productivity capable of replacing human pickers. Further mechanical modifications and more robust and adaptive algorithms are needed to achieve a stronger robot system. Practical implications - Experimental results and new simulations look very promising. Originality/value - Will help to limit costs and guarantee a high degree of reliability.
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  • 45
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 226-233 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Aims to discuss how impedance-controlled parallel robots can effectively perform industrial assembly tasks. Design/methodology/approach - A new purely translational parallel robot has been designed to fulfil the requirements of industrial assembly tasks. The kinematic and dynamic models of the robot have been obtained in analytic form. A full-scale prototype has been realized within the Italian research programme PRIDE (Parallel Robots Interacting with Dynamic Environments). An impedance control algorithm based on the kinematic and dynamic models has been implemented on the control unit of the PRIDE prototype. The effectiveness of the impedance-controlled PKM has been evaluated performing the assembly of white goods components. Findings - The test results show that the combined use of impedance control and dynamic compensation applied to parallel kinematics machines allows to reduce remarkably the operational time compared to the currently used position-controlled industrial robots. Research limitations/implications - The experimental tests on the PRIDE prototype show the overall industrial feasibility of impedance-controlled parallel kinematics machines. Practical implications - The introduction of impedance-controlled PKMs may improve, with a relatively low cost, the level of automation of several production plants in which delicate operations requiring force control are still executed manually. Originality/value - While there is a large number of existing position-controlled PKMs, the experimental research about force-controlled or impedance-controlled PKMs is not widespread.
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  • 46
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 240-247 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Describes a dual-arm mobile manipulator that can autonomously scan natural terrain using a typical handheld landmine detector in a manner similar to a human operator. Design/methodology/approach - Presents a terrain-scanning robot that consists of two articulated arms mounted on an off-road remotely operated vehicle. One arm carries a laser and four ultrasonic rangefinders to build a terrain map. The map is used in real time to generate an obstacle-free path for the second arm that manipulates the landmine detector autonomously. The arms are mounted on the vehicle that is controlled by an operator from a safe distance. Motion planning and control of the robot is carried out using an embedded computer that is linked to a host computer to transmit the detector data and operator commands. Findings - Finds that the terrain-scanning robot can effectively manipulate a relatively large landmine detector on rugged terrain with undulations and obstacles. Research limitations/implications - Proposes real-time motion planning that may be equally applicable to other mobile manipulators. Practical implications - Provides a technology that together with state-of-the-art landmine sensors will offer a safe solution for detecting hidden landmines and clearing them from the postwar countries. Originality/value - Introduces the concept of a dual-arm mobile terrain scanning robot for landmine detection in off-road missions and civilian areas where truck-mounted detectors are inefficient.
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  • 47
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 303-311 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - A review of safety-technology, applicable safety-related standards and the impact on the use of robots in industrial environments. Design/methodology/approach - Technological developments are presented in safety-related control technology, including programmable safety controllers, configurable safety controllers, safety networking and robotic safety in human environments. The technological developments are related to new and emerging safety standards. Findings - The development of safety-related technology and new international and European standards have fundamentally changed the way in which safety is now being engineered in industry. The introduction of new standards and revision of others have allowed safety-related systems to utilise "state of the art" electronic, programmable, and network based technologies. New international standards are likely to include collaborative working with humans in the robotic workspace. This is set to change how robots are utilised in manufacturing environments. Originality/value - The review of applicable standards and technical developments: with examples from current research and new technologies, demonstrating engineering solutions that embody the principles of the new standards.
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  • 48
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 350-355 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - The purpose of this research is to develop closed-loop control of robotic welding processes. Design/methodology/approach - The approach being developed is the creation of three-dimensional models of the weld pool using stereo imagining. These models will be used in a model-based feedback control system. Fusion of more than one sensor type in the controller is used. Findings - Three-dimensional images can be produced from stereo images of GMAW-p weld pools. This requires coordinating the image capture with the arc pulse to allow observation of the pool. Research limitations/implications - This is a work in progress. The imaging is not being done in real time at this point in time. Future work will address this issue. Also, how the image information is to be used to make corrections within the controller is future work. Practical implications - Closing the loop on GMAW welding will allow robotic automation of welding to proceed to a much broader degree of application. Originality/value - This paper demonstrates that stereo imaging of out-of-position GMAW-p weld pools is possible and the useful information can be obtained from these images. It also provides insights into the analysis required within the model-based controller if one is to close the loop on the process specifically with regard to weld pool stability.
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  • 49
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 356-360 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Aims to present missing knowledge of welding and sensor application with rotating torch to the technically and economically meaningful employment. With the help of this knowledge, on the one hand, the potential user is to be informed about the applicability of the system in the context of his production line and his products and on the other hand, the classification of the system in the range of the alternatives available on market. Design/methodology/approach - Introduces the welding operation and experimental results of rotating torch integrated with a sensor device using a 6-axis robot. Performed various laboratory experiments investigating variable frequency values with different torch orientations. Findings - Figures out the optimum frequency and torch orientation to obtain ultimate welding geometry by means of compensating gaps with increased weld root. Observed the possibility of out-of-position welding. Research limitations/implications - In this manner, provides a great scope as a pioneer application in industry and a guidance for forthcoming researches. Practical implications - Allows welding of thin sheet metals. Originality/value - Presents a seminal concept in the field of any industrial applications such as marine and pipeline construction.
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  • 50
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 312-313 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Describes how BMW is investing in new body-in-white capital equipment to make a new version of the Mini due out in 2007. Design/methodology/approach - Describes the major production line technologies that are under close scrutiny to manufacture the body shell of the next generation Mini car at BMW Group's Oxford plant in the UK. Technologies to be implemented include a further 160 KUKA robots (most of which will be used for spot welding) and a new generation of control software. Findings - BMW managers and engineers have decided to expand the present body-in-white facility at Oxford by a further 15,000m2. At the same time they are planning to move some of the present manufacture to the company's plant at Swindon, Wiltshire. This includes various cells to manufacture closures, including doors, tailgate and bonnet assemblies. Already the Cabriolet tailgate assembly has been moved to Swindon. At the same time, engineers plan to introduce a new control standard, product line 2 (PL2), which is already the standard used throughout BMW's manufacturing organization. Research limitations/implications - Engineers BMW's oxford plant have been upgrading the present r50 control standard into a hybrid version that will be known as R50.1. This work is due to be complete by the end of this year. The new standard, PL2, will be introduced into the new facilities so there will in effect be two standards running in parallel in the works. At the same time the there will be a switch to Siemens S7 software, which will be faster and offer much increased processing power. Following development and work arising out of previous experience, BMW engineers have opted for KUKA KRC2 robots. Practical implications - The practical implications of the new facilities will allow BMW engineers greater flexibility. Although it has not yet been made public, it is likely the company will introduce a special framing unit that will allow manufacturing engineers to produce more than one version of the mini on the body-in-white line. Originality/value - The work being done at Oxford for the 2007 Mini will incorporate technology and know-how already developed within the BMW Group to manufacture the 1-Series and the 3-Series cars.
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  • 51
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 314-317 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - In this paper a solution capable of extracting robot motion information from CAD data is briefly presented and explored. Design/methodology/approach - The motion information is added by the user to the CAD file, defining in this way the approach, fly-by and welding trajectories. So the user programs the robot. An application is then used to extract that information and constitute a pre-program, which should be tuned with the real robot using a small set of rules. In this way, versatility of robotic cells is improved and its programming is simplified. Findings - The developed CAD interface is tested using a robot welding experiment on a steel beam used for industrial buildings. Originality/value - This paper builds on work previously described in "CAD interface for automatic robot welding programming" published in Industrial Robot, Vol. 31, No. 1.
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  • 52
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 24-31 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Selection of an effective grasp of a complex object using a multifingered gripper is a challenging problem because of the many possible grasp positions that are typically available. Design/methodology/approach - Given the geometrical description of the particular object feature to be grasped, all feasible grasps are performed in offline simulation using a geometrically accurate model of the desired gripper. The six-dimensional convex hull for each grasp is computed and archived. This convex hull indicates the span of forces and torques that the grasp can resist. When a grasp is needed the force/torque due to the total object weight is estimated and the best grasp is selected. The selected grasp has minimum peak contact force consistent with equilibrium. Findings - Experimental trials with several complex object show the method is capable of producing grasps which can support the object and resist external force/torque. Research limitations/implications - An accurate geometrical description of the feature to be grasped must be known in advance. This would typically be a cylindrical or prismatic portion of the object. Practical implications - There are many environments in which a dexterous multifingered gripper must be used due to the variety of objects which must be grasped. The results indicate that effective grasps can be selected for complex objects from a database of simulated grasps. Originality/value - The primary contribution of this paper is the use of a database of simulated grasps on simple graspable features to synthesize grasps on complex objects.
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  • 53
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 32-34 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Resulting from the need for fast and insightful modeling combined with the drawbacks of available modeling environments, provides details of work developed on an automated modelling environment. Design/methodology/approach - An automated modeling environment for serial manipulators has been implemented in Matlab/Simulink. Findings - The manipulator configuration is defined by using a graphical user interface and the corresponding mathematical model is automatically generated. The model is exported to Matlab for analysis and control design, as well as to Simulink for simulation and verification purposes. Friction and stiction phenomena are included in the model. The simulation results can be visualized in standard plots and scopes as well as through virtual reality animations. Practical implications - The modeling environment has been used in the design of a control system for a seven-degree-of-freedom manipulator in a tunnel-boring machine. Originality/value - Information on the implementation of an automated modelling environment to facilitate the simultaneous design of the configuration and the corresponding control system of serial manipulators
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  • 54
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 35-42 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - The capability to perform dexterous operations in an autonomous manner would greatly enhance the productivity of robotic operations. In this paper, we present a new methodology for vision-based grasping of objects or parts using a three-finger hand as a gripper of a robotic manipulator. Design/methodology/approach - The hand employed in our work, called SARAH, was designed for robotic operations on the space station, however, the main steps of our procedure can be applied for tasks in a manufacturing environment. Our methodology involves two principal stages: automatic synthesis of grasps for planar and revolute objects with SARAH and vision-based pose estimation of the object to be grasped. For both stages, we assume that a model of the object is available off-line. Findings - In the paper, numerical results are presented for grasp synthesis of several objects with SARAH to demonstrate the feasibility and optimality of the synthesized grasps. Experimental results are also obtained with SARAH as the end-effector of a seven-degree-of-freedom robotic arm, demonstrating the feasibility of the integrated vision-based grasping. Research limitations/implications - The methodology described in the paper, although represents a substantial step towards automated grasping with a robotic manipulator, still requires some decision making from the user. Further work can improve the pose identification aspects of the algorithm to make them more robust and free of human intervention. As well, the grasp synthesis procedure can be expanded to handle more complex and possibly moving objects, as well as to allow for different grasp types than those considered here. Practical implications - The work demonstrates feasibility of autonomous grasp execution in industrial setting by using a three-finger hand as a robotic gripper. Originality/value - The results presented in the paper demonstrate the feasibility of synthesising optimised grasps which take into account the kinematics of the gripper. We also demonstrate a real implementation of vision-based grasping by using a robotic manipulator with a three-finger hand.
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  • 55
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 43-48 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Semiconductor manufacturing industry requires highly accurate robot operation with short install/setup downtime. Design/methodology/approach - We develop a fast, low cost and easy-to-operate calibration system for wafer-handling robots. The system is defined by a fixture and a simple compensation algorithm. Given robot repeatability, end effector uncertainties, and the tolerance requirements of wafer placement points, we derive fixture design and placement specifications based on a statistical tolerance model. Findings - By employing the fixture-based calibration, we successfully relax the tolerance requirement of the end effector by 20 times. Originality/value - Semiconductor manufacturing requires fast and easy-to-operate calibration systems for wafer-handling robots. In this paper, we describe a new methodology to solve this problem using fixtures. We develop fixture design criteria and a simple compensate algorithm to satisfy calibration requirements. We also verify our approach by a physical example.
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  • 56
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 49-54 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to inform the readers of the design process and practical implications of a new gripping device created by the authors. Design/methodology/approach - We have developed a novel gripping device based on the biomechanics of the feeding apparatus of the marine mollusk, Aplysia californica. The gripping device uses modified McKibben artificial muscles arranged in rings and placed in parallel. The rings contract sequentially to produce peristalsis, which moves a grasping mechanism back and forth through the rings. Findings - The central grasper is capable of conforming to soft and irregular material. Practical implications - This device could have novel applications both for removal of tissue in medical applications and for removing material from clogged plumbing lines. Originality/value - This paper demonstrates the utility of using biological inspiration for developing novel robotic devices and suggests new ways of handling slippery, irregular, and fragile material.
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  • 57
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 380-382 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Aims to describe the application of robotics to the cleaning of the glass roof of the 21?m high pyramid that stands in front of the Louvre in Paris. Design/methodology/approach - Presents the design of the robot, its traction mechanism, cleaning system and operating mode. Findings - Finds that a robot is capable of cleaning a glass roof at a great height and on a steep slope using only suction to adhere to the surface. Originality/value - Introduces the concept of a robot in commercial use that cleans a steeply sloping glass roof.
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  • 58
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 383-387 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - Describes the application of standard industrial robots to the assembly and riveting of aerostructure sub-assemblies. Design/methodology/approach - Describes the design and operation of special purpose end-effectors for assembly and solid riveting and their integration in an aerostructure sub-assembly fabrication cell. The robots are controlled by a novel control system which allows the cell to compensate for distortion and misalignment of the components. Findings - Demonstrates that with advanced control standard industrial robots can be used to assemble aerostructure sub-assemblies. Originality/value - Introduces techniques for compensating for the inherent distortion that occurs in airframe components during manufacture. This is an enabling technology that will significantly increase the number of possible applications for robots in the assembly of aerostructures.
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  • 59
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 388-392 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - This paper describes a robotic system developed for tiling mosaics based on image processing according to customer expectations. Design/methodology/approach - Many varieties of mosaics art in different forms has been applied manually over centuries for art decorating. Although the mosaics material is cheap with immense decorative potential, the mosaics tiling process is difficult and costly skill to perform. Therefore, an image processing based robotic tiling system has been presented and applied in this study. An algorithm has been developed for converting the computer image to mosaic picture by using Borland C++ Builder 6.0 and successfully utilized on six degrees of freedom Ultimate Puma 500 type industrial robot for tiling glass mosaics to any plane. Findings - According to result of this study, it can be realized that the robots could be successfully utilized on decorating processes, e.g. tiling mosaics, for faster and flexible production. Originality/value - Presented robotic system allows the craftsmen to produce large and extra ordinary mosaic figures by using computer image and glass mosaic tiles. The goal of using a robot in this application is to increase the speed without man-faults and flexibility.
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  • 60
    Electronic Resource
    Bradford : Emerald
    Industrial robot 32 (2005), S. 393-400 
    ISSN: 0143-991X
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Notes: Purpose - To set-up the study of an unmanned system for refuelling of vehicles, with attention to VOCs recovery. Design/methodology/approach - Presents the architecture of a robotic arm for refuelling. Special attention was allocated to the safety characteristics of the automatic refuelling station assuring the highest protection of people and their safeguard against accidents, preventing any dangerous response of the robotic arm in all the predictable conditions. A concurrent engineering methodology jointly with the life-cycle approach was adopted for the study and evaluation of the equipment. Findings - Finds that a six DoF arm with a tubular architecture with relocated actuation equipped with a specifically designed filler satisfying stage II rules is suitable to perform the task of safe refuelling of vehicles. Research limitations/implications - Provides hints to design refuelling stations, also for fluids of the future (e.g. hydrogen). Practical implications - This robot is a low cost and efficient solution for replacing humans in petrol pump stations, while preserving environmental health. Refuelling will be comfortable and safe even in adverse climate conditions or for dangerous fuels (e.g. hydrogen). Originality/value - Introduces a robotic arm made with tubes so that cables, pipes and VOCs run inside it and a filler granting easy mating with the cap and VOCs collection.
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  • 61
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - To explore alliance managers' perceptions of the most significant determinants of strategic alliance success in the software sector. Design/methodology/approach - The study is based on 30 key informant interviews and a survey of 143 alliance managers. Findings - While both structural and process factors are important, the most significant factors affecting alliance success are the adaptability and openness of the alliance partners, human resource practices and partners' learning capability during implementation. Alliance partners should pay more attention to operational implementation issues as an alliance evolves, in order to achieve successful cooperative relationships. Research limitations/implications - This research has responded to the call for more empirical study of the underlying causes of successful alliances. It contributes to the ongoing debate about which factors have most impact on strategic alliance outcomes, and complements prior research on several dimensions. First, using selected interview quotations to illuminate the quantitative analysis, it contributes to a deeper understanding of the alliance process, and reduced the ambiguity about which factors are most influential. In particular, the study provides support for those authors who have argued for the relative importance of the alliance implementation process. Second, support has also been found for the prominence of learning capability and the inter-partner learning process as a major component of effective alliance implementation. Third, the results are based on the views of practicing alliance managers, which addresses a recognized gap in the literature. Practical implications - The results send a signal to senior managers contemplating strategic alliances that they should not underestimate the importance of alliance process factors and the role that alliance managers play in achieving successful alliance relationships. This is particularly important, given the high levels of alliance failure reported in the extant literature. Originality/value - While past research on strategic alliances has placed more emphasis on the importance of alliance formation than on implementation, there is an ongoing debate about whether structural, formation factors have more influence on alliance success than implementation or process factors. There has been only limited empirical work examining this interplay between structure and process, particularly from an operations perspective, and very few studies have examined strategic alliances in the software industry.
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  • 62
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - To investigate the role played by corporate entrepreneurs in the strategic renewal of mature manufacturing companies. Design/methodology/approach - A case study approach is adopted as a means of identifying links between corporate entrepreneurship and social capital. Data are drawn from a three-year study which incorporates formal and informal interviews with 15 members of a pseudonymous company management team. Findings - The study extends understanding of limits between corporate entrepreneurship and social capital in three ways: corporate entrepreneurs (CEs) can exploit "structural holes" for the benefit of the organisation rather than for career advancement; newcomers are more effective than insiders in overcoming the relational inertia caused by lack of external links; the bridging actions of CEs are important for linking internal activities as well as for accessing external knowledge. Originality/value - The case is used, in combination with earlier contributions to the literature, as a basis for reconceptualizing the process of corporate entrepreneurship.
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  • 63
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - In order to deepen one's knowledge and further build theory on the implementation and use of advanced manufacturing systems (AMS) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the present research seeks to explore the following questions: What is the present level of AMS sophistication in SMEs? What characteristics of the SMEs' strategic, organizational and entrepreneurial context are associated with higher levels of AMS sophistication? And what are the operational and business performance impacts of this sophistication for small and medium-sized manufacturers? Design/methodology/approach - A survey of 248 Canadian manufacturers was used to collect data that were analyzed by structured equation modeling. Findings - AMS sophistication significantly impacts both the operational performance and the business performance of SMEs. Antecedents of this sophistication include the education and experience of the owner-manager, the strategic orientation of the firm, the type of production, and the commercial dependency of small manufacturers. Research limitations/implications - The nature of the sample and perceptual nature of certain measures impose care in generalizing the results of the study. Future research should examine environmental factors (e.g. environmental uncertainty) and structural factors (e.g. structural complexity) in particular for added explanatory power of AMS sophistication. Practical implications - Small business managers, wanting to increase their firm's manufacturing flexibility, reduce costs, improve quality, and eventually increase profitability, should look at the present level of AMS sophistication in conjunction with their strategic intent. Originality/value - Given the dearth of empirical knowledge in this regard, the present study has contributed to a better understanding of the nature and state of AMS sophistication in small manufacturing firms, and of the antecedents and outcomes of this sophistication.
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  • 64
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - To provide an example of the use of system dynamics within the context of a discrete-event simulation study. Design/methodology/approach - A discrete-event simulation study of a production-planning facility in a gas cylinder-manufacturing plant is presented. The case study evidence incorporates questionnaire responses from sales managers involved in the order-scheduling process. Findings - As the project progressed it became clear that, although the discrete-event simulation would meet the objectives of the study in a technical sense, the organizational problem of "delivery performance" would not be solved by the discrete-event simulation study alone. The case shows how the qualitative outcomes of the discrete-event simulation study led to an analysis using the system dynamics technique. The system dynamics technique was able to model the decision-makers in the sales and production process and provide a deeper understanding of the performance of the system. Research limitations/implications - The case study describes a traditional discrete-event simulation study which incorporated an unplanned investigation using system dynamics. Further, case studies using a planned approach to showing consideration of organizational issues in discrete-event simulation studies are required. Then the role of both qualitative data in a discrete-event simulation study and the use of supplementary tools which incorporate organizational aspects may help generate a methodology for discrete-event simulation that incorporates human aspects and so improve its relevance for decision making. Practical implications - It is argued that system dynamics can provide a useful addition to the toolkit of the discrete-event simulation practitioner in helping them incorporate a human aspect in their analysis. Originality/value - Helps decision makers gain a broader perspective on the tools available to them by showing the use of system dynamics to supplement the use of discrete-event simulation.
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  • 65
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - The paper aims to survey the main usages of the term "value" in the economics, marketing, strategy and operations fields. Design/methodology/approach - The way in which all four fields adopt an unbalanced approach, concentrating exclusively on the customer's perspective, is highlighted. A complete, balanced analysis including both the customer and supplier perspectives is outlined. The precise meaning of the term value is then explored in detail, revealing and exploring the difference between the potential and realised versions. Findings - These insights are applied to an analysis of the concept of the "value chain" leading to the conclusion that, given the ontology of value, much of the language used to describe value and chains is deeply misleading. Practical implications - The paper ends with a discussion of the possible effects of this ontological and linguistic sloppiness on practitioners and business practice. By bringing clarity to the real meaning of value in trade it may be possible to improve the effectiveness of the use of the word by management as a motivational tool for enhancing company performance. Originality/value - The paper offers a clear, detailed explanation of the nature of value in trading relations.
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  • 66
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Seeks to analyze changes in the perceived benefits and costs of ISO 9000 implementation over time. Design/methodology/approach - Results of two surveys, performed in 1998 and 2002, with 283 and 399 Catalonian companies participating, respectively, are presented, compared and analyzed. Findings - There has been a significant decrease in the perception of ISO 9000 implementation benefits from 1998 to 2002. However, most companies still believe that ISO 9000 is beneficial overall. ISO 9000 implementation and maintenance costs have substantially decreased in the same four-year period. Research limitations/implications - In July 2002, when the second survey was conducted, the majority of the participating companies were still registered to one of the old versions of the standard, namely ISO 9001/2/3:1994. The findings support the notion that ISO 9000 standards are limited in providing a set of concrete benefits over time. Practical implications - The outcome of the study contributes to a better understanding of the temporal nature of the impact ISO 9000 requirement standards have had on companies. Originality/value - This is one of the first papers that analyses the benefits and costs of ISO 9000 implementation over time.
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  • 67
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Asset management is often one of the last options to maximise cost savings in a competitive global economy due to its intrinsic complexity, especially in many developing countries. Asset management in the process industry must consider the commissioning, operational and end-of-life phases of physical assets when commencing a design and implementation project. However, current asset management models show inefficiencies in terms of addressing life cycle costs comprehensively, as well as other aspects of sustainable development. An asset life cycle management (ALCM) model is subsequently proposed for assets in the process industry, which integrates the concepts of generic project management frameworks and systems engineering with operational reliability in order to address these inefficiencies. Design/methodology/approach - Experiences within a large petrochemical company in South Africa are used as a case study to demonstrate and discuss the different components of the proposed ALCM model. Findings - Operational reliability and systems engineering are the means to achieve optimum value from physical assets over a facility's lifetime. Thereby, activities are identified that should be completed during each stage of the project life cycle. The application of performance measurements for the operation and support stages is proposed to influence decision making in the process industry. Originality/value - Specific issues pertaining to the ALCM model are highlighted to ensure optimal practicality and incorporation of the model with other management practices in the process industry.
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  • 68
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - The concept of responsiveness has been widely discussed, yet so far most of this discussion has remained qualitative in nature. The purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptual model identifying the key factors that determine the responsiveness of a supply chain system, which - once quantified - provide a unique profile of each supply chain setting towards the appropriate supply chain strategy. Design/methodology/approach - The paper reviews existing contributions and synthesises these into a conceptual model of responsiveness. The model is applied using three case studies from the automotive and electronics industry. The case research is based on value stream mapping, semi-structured interviews, and site visits. Findings - Three key findings could be established: first, the concept of responsiveness has a simple logic that aligns itself to a wide range of manufacturing strategies. However, underlying this remit is a complex interaction of an array of key variables, and it was found that previous contributions largely have only addressed a subset of these. Second, these key variables can be grouped into three categories or dimensions of responsiveness - product, process and volume - to provide a holistic understanding of responsiveness and its key determinants. Third, due to the large involved, there cannot be one single "holy grail" concept of how responsiveness can be achieved, neither does one single approach apply to entire sectors. Research limitations/implications - A great variety of variables needs to be considered in order to provide a balanced view of all three dimensions of responsiveness, thus the case analyses remain at a necessarily high level. Practical implications - The paper provides guidelines for management on how to align their supply chain strategy to volume, product and process contingency factors in order to balance responsiveness to customer demand and supply chain efficiency. Originality/value - The paper aims to elevate a discussion that previously has been held mostly at a conceptual level beyond the qualitative description, and thus addresses a key shortcoming in the current debate.
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  • 69
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - In this study, the effects of the different models and tools of quality management are examined. The purpose is to identify differences in the effects generated by different quality management models and tools. Design/methodology/approach - A questionnaire was mailed to 500 Swedish quality professionals. The questions concerned their companies' adoption of the values of TQM, the use of the models and tools of TQM and the effects they notice. Correlation analysis and multiple regression analysis were carried out. Findings - The findings show that there is statistical correlation between the adoption of the values of TQM and successful quality management. The usefulness of the Swedish Quality Award, the European Quality Award and ISO 9000 as well as several of the quality management tools is also indicated. Regarding ISO 9000 specific effects have been found. Research limitations/implications - A limitation of the study is that the financial outcomes of the quality management practices are not measured but only the managers' perceptions of effects produced. The implication for further research is an increased knowledge of the different effects of the quality management practices and the significance of the values, particularly three values that were included in the multiple regression models. Practical implications - The specific findings on the effects of ISO 9000 are useful for managers when implementing the standard. The results of the study also indicate the importance of emphasising the values for successful quality management. Originality/value - This study has provided more detailed knowledge of the effects of the different quality management practices, particularly of ISO 9000.
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  • 70
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: PurposeThe delivered wisdom to date has enterprise system purchase and implementation as one of the most hazardous projects any organization can undertake. The aim was to reduce this risk by both theoretically and empirically finding those key predictors of a successful enterprise system deployment.Design/methodology/approachA representative sample of 60 firms drawn from the Fortune 1000 that had recently (1999-2000) adopted enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems was used to test a model of adoption performance with significant results.FindingsLeadership (social learning theory), business process re-engineering (change the company not the technology) and acquisition strategy (buy, do not make) were found to be significant predictors of adoption performance (final model R2=43 percent, F=5.5, p<0.001, df=7.52), controlling for industry (manufacturing versus service), project start date and scale (sales). Electronic data interchange (EDI) usage was found to be inversely and significantly related to adoption performance which supports the notion that prior company investments in earlier generations of technology for integration might inhibit adoption of later, more radical or complex alternatives. We validated these results with a focused follow-up study (2005) using mailed and interview protocols identical to the first questionnaire and 20 new cases of ERP deployment. We found near perfect agreement (p<0.001 binomial test) with our initial findings.Originality/valueThe "four factor" model we validate is a robust predictor of ERP adoption success and can be used by any organization to audit plans and progress for this undertaking.
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  • 71
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: PurposeThe issue of manufacturing flexibility has been widely discussed in the literature. One major area of focus has been the development of taxonomies for flexibility. This paper aims to review the contributions in this area and to propose a new classification and a framework for analysing flexibility in manufacturing companies.Design/methodology/approachThe study adopts a case study methodology approach. The framework proposed is used to analyse the implementation of flexibility in four UK manufacturing plants in four major industrial sectors: electronics, process, household and general goods and food.FindingsFrom the empirical analysis, various enablers of flexibility are identified. These are classified into three broad sources of flexibility namely fundamental enablers, indirect enablers and generic enablers as well as flexibility avoidance strategies referred to as flexibility evaders.Practical implicationsThe implication is that a mix of flexibility solutions rather than a single solution may be the most appropriate way for delivering flexibility in an organisation. However, the drivers of the need for flexibility have to be correctly identified in order to determine the best solutions for delivering system flexibility.Originality/valueThe development of a refined framework for analysing manufacturing flexibility as well as the identification of various enablers of strategic flexibility are the major contributions of this paper.
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  • 72
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: PurposeWith the current interest in all aspects of supply chain management, the demands on warehousing have changed significantly within the past few years. In an attempt to meet this challenge, warehouses have become more concerned with proper slotting and storage techniques. This paper seeks to evaluate slotting measures and storage assignment strategies in a simulated manual bin-shelving (low level picker-to-part) warehouse in terms of travel distance and the fulfillment time to complete an order.Design/methodology/approachThe approach utilises Monte Carlo simulation of a manual bin-shelving pick area.FindingsThe results illustrate that popularity, turnover, and cube-per-order index (COI) performed best among slotting measures. Several new storage assignment strategies utilizing the concept of "golden zone" picking, which slots high demand stock-keeping units (SKUs) at the height between the picker's waist and shoulders, were introduced. Results from the simulation study show that the golden zone storage assignment strategies generated significant savings in order fulfillment time compared to storage policies that ignore the golden zone concept.Originality/valueProvides an evaluation of slotting measures and storage assignment strategies that generated significant savings in order fulfillment time.
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  • 73
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: PurposeThis paper is an exploratory investigation of manufacturing practices, dimensions of manufacturing performance, and their relationships via an empirical study, in an effort to develop new insights into operations strategy.Design/methodology/approachBy examining manufacturing data gathered from 58 of "America's Best Plants", we investigate an extended core set of manufacturing practices that we use to characterize the plants. Using cluster analysis, we classified each of the plants into one of four groups.FindingsThe analysis of the practices-performance relationships for these clusters implies a progression of capabilities linked to specific performance gains.Research limitations/implicationsWe develop the notion of "strategic capability progression", and discuss its implications for operations strategy. The results of this exploratory study accord well with existing studies in operations strategy.Practical implicationsThe findings have broad implications for manufacturing managers regarding effective deployments of resources aimed at improving operating capabilities and manufacturing plant performance.Originality/valueThe findings point to new and promising avenues for enriching and elaborating contemporary theories of operations strategy.
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  • 74
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - Reducing purchasing costs remains an ongoing concern for most organizations. The standard purchasing process that works well for large purchases, however, generates proportionately much higher overhead and administrative costs for small purchases leading to purchase delays, high error rate, and poor vendor participation. There is a need to develop separate purchasing processes for small and large purchases and evaluate underlying factors that affect such process transformation. This paper aims to analyze a successful purchasing process transformation conducted at a utility company for small purchases. Design/methodology/approach - It uses a case study methodology to examine the transformation in detail and understand related issues such as benefits realization, resistance to change, and risk management involved in such transformation projects. Findings - It compares original and transformed purchasing processes and identifies resultant benefits to the company, participating vendors, banks, and employees. It finds that a company receives many operational, informational, and accounting benefits in addition to purchasing cost savings. Practical implications - It provides guidelines for similar restructuring for small purchases in other organizations. Originality/value - The paper offers a generic business process model for small purchases and employs equity-implementation model to explain the factors leading to the success in this purchasing process transformation and possibly other similar organizational transformations.
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  • 75
    Electronic Resource
    Bingley : Emerald
    ISSN: 0144-3577
    Source: Emerald Fulltext Archive Database 1994-2005
    Topics: Economics
    Notes: Purpose - The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of existing, local performance measures in the process of developing and implementing an integrated performance measurement system. Performance measurement has received much attention since the 1980s, based on the notion that performance measurement systems should be adapted to modern manufacturing systems. However, relatively few empirical studies have investigated implementation processes of such systems. Design/methodology/approach - The paper describes a case study of the development of a performance measurement system in a medium-sized company. Findings - It was found that the process was strongly guided by the need to identify existing reports and metrics at different levels within the organization, which informed the development and implementation of the new performance measurement system. This is a more significant role than has usually been proposed in the literature - one side of the gap between existing measures and an ideal system that has first been developed following a kind of "greenfield" approach. Research limitations/implications - Future research could use other longitudinal case studies to obtain more insights into development and implementation processes, and also focus on information systems in these processes. Originality/value - The value of this paper lies in highlighting the interplay between organizational experiences that are embedded in informal, local performance reports and new performance measurement initiatives that are initiated from a higher management-level.
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