Charles Baden-Fuller Editorial
The Rhythm of Management: Structures and Structuring
Karl Weick often said that managing was important because structures are only
a part of the story of what firms can do. The title of this issue, "The
Rhythm of Management" reflects the duality of our work: we deal with
both structures and structuring. Structures are important but they have to
be adjusted to the pressures and opportunities that organisations face in
such a way that they create a natural rhythm of change and do not collapse.
So it is with pleasure that I introduce this issue on structures and structuring.
In the first piece, Michael Goold and Andrew Campbell show
how large multinational firms are rising to the challenge of managing complexity.
They examine the structures they use and how these change. A key dimension
of structure is role definition, and they explore the dynamics of getting
just enough but not too much structure. Their article also gives insight into
how the very large lumbering giants get the right rhythm to survive in the
current world of small, focused and nimble players.
Kathry Pavlovich shows that getting the dynamics right makes
for the success of world famous Waitomo Caves tourist site. She explores the
structures and the processes of this New Zealand success story. Just as role
definition is important in the large complex firm, so it is also important
here in the small but complex network of interacting agencies. She also shows
how the successful dynamics of role change can be better understood using
the Jazz metaphor.
The dynamics of networks is the subject of the third piece
on media firms in London. Lilach Nachum and David Keeble tell that the London-Soho
media firms are simultaneously local and global, and they point to the dynamics
of role choice in making these firms so vibrant.
Our final piece by Bryan Husted looks at social responsibility
with a structural lens. Using a very classical analysis based on the theory
of the firm, he examines the costs and benefits of in-house versus out-sourcing
this important activity.
All authors and reviewers of LRP know that Amy Swann, our administrative assistant,
has been the central pivot of LRP over the last two and a half years. Hidden
from the reader, she has dedicated her work to making life smooth and easy
for those involved in the journal. Amy has decided to leave London and move
to York. So on behalf of us all, I thank her for her work and wish her luck
in her future.
Michael Goold and Andrew Campbell Structured Networks: Towards the Well
Designed Matrix firstname.lastname@example.org
Matrix structures have been adopted by many companies to
cope with the market and competitive conditions they face. Unfortunately,
these matrix structures have too often fallen into disrepute. Managers have
found them difficult to work in, burdened with excessive centralisation and
ambiguous reporting structures. Many managers prefer the clear focus of structures
based on autonomous, self-contained business units. But the need for interdependent
co-operation between different units remains, and this article puts forward
the concept of a “structured network” as a means of overcoming
the problems typically associated with traditional matrix organisations.
In structured networks, the default position is decentralisation—the
organisation is largely self-managing, but has sufficient structure, process
and hierarchy to achieve coordination and to implement corporate strategy.
The objective is to obtain the benefits of interdependence that are designed
into a typical matrix, but without sacrificing clear responsibilities, managerial
initiative and accountability, speed of decision-making and lean hierarchy.
A well-designed structured network will achieve clarity about each unit’s
role, and promote mutual learning, cooperation and shared responsibility without
distinctive differences, specialist unit cultures and unit accountability.
The article offers a taxonomy of eight unit types, defining the broad responsibilities,
lateral relationships and level of autonomy in decision-making of each, as
a basis for designing structured networks, organisations with just enough,
but not too much structure.
Kathryn Pavlovich All That Jazz email@example.com
This article examines the organising patterns of a multi-centred
network, which has no single firm assuming overall leadership. The case study
is centred on the Waitomo Caves, set in an isolated rural village in limestone
karst landscape in New Zealand, where the main tourism attraction offers unique
fauna - glow-worms which twinkle like stars in the night.
The author shows how a network has grown up around this central player which
includes caving activities, above- and below-ground ecological management
agencies and ancillary providers of food, accommodation etc.
The article uses the metaphor of jazz throughout to illustrate how interdependent
collective action plays an important role in organising network activities,
and describes how collective action groups are configured and how the structural
configuration influences the complementary and reciprocal information transfers
needed to create tacit knowledge. It likens the organisation of this kind
of hydra, multi-headed network to the process of improvisation in jazz, giving
an insight into the seemingly unplanned activities that characterise the networked
economy. The author shows how the network can be ‘in the groove’
through a portfolio of interconnected ties, and how this structural optimisation
leads to the development of value chain capabilities that contribute to the
enrichment of strategic networked communities.
Lilach Nachum and David Keeble Neo-Marshallian Clusters
and Global Networks: The Linkages of Media Firms in Central London Lilach_Nachum@baruch.cuny.edu
The Soho district of Central London, meeting ground of artists,
writers and poets has been the heart of the country’s cultural life
for more than a century. The presence of this group of creative individuals
led to establishment of film companies and advertising offices in the area,
and it is now the centre of the media industry in the UK. This paper examines
the nature of the external linkages of firms in this media cluster, and draws
implications for the competitive advantages that firms in clusters develop.
The analysis shows that these firms
are strongly embedded in the local cluster and rely heavily on resources and
processes available locally—especially the skilled and experienced free-lance
work-force as well as suppliers and customers, and the informal free flow
of ideas and learning available within the cluster’s bars and coffee-shops.
At the same time, they also maintain linkages extending well beyond the local
cluster and the national scale into the key media centres worldwide,
especially in Hollywood. The paper argues that, despite the advantages of
the local cluster, for firms to compete successfully, they must achieve a
successful balance of linkages between localised sources of interaction and
those residing at the global scale.
Bryan W. Husted Governance Choices for Corporate Social
Responsibility: to Contribute, Collaborate or Internalize? firstname.lastname@example.org
In today’s competitive business environment, Corporate
Social Responsibility activities are less and less likely to be simply altruistic.
But to maximise their contribution to the donor firm’s bottom line,
not only is the choice of what causes to support, but also the choice of how
this support is organised, become strategic matters for senior management.
This article identifies three basic options for the governance of CSR activities:
the contribution – where firms simply donate to an external usually
non-governmental or non-profit agency; the internalisation option, where the
firm sets up a wholly internal arm to give effect to its charitable impulses;
and the collaboration, seen as a half-way house between the two, where a firm
contributes to an external ‘expert’, but joins it in managing
the way benefit is derived from its funding.
The author analyses the problems of co-ordination and motivation of CSR, capturing
them with the concepts of centrality and specificity. Looking at appropriate
governance choices and how they fit with firm expertise, and how best firms
may capture value from this activity, it judges that the more closely related
the charitable activity is to the firm’s core mission, and the more
specific the benefits are, the more the firm has to gain from internalising
or at least collaborating in CSR provision. Giving plenty of examples, and
also analysing costs for each governance style, the article also provides
a decision-making tool to guide senior management in maximizing the benefits
they can reap from their CSR activities.
This issue is available in full on-line at www.sciencedirect.com