Handbook of Research on Management Ideas and Panaceas
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Handbook of Research on Management Ideas and Panaceas

Adaptation and Context

Edited by Anders Örtenblad

Over time management ideas and panaceas have been presented alternately as quick fix cures for all corporate ills and the emperor’s new clothes, beset by flaws and problems. This Handbook provides a different approach, suggesting that management ideas and panaceas should not be either adopted or rejected outright, but gives guidance in the art of assessing and applying management ideas and panaceas to various situations and contexts.
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Chapter 16: Excellence and intelligence: managing practice adaptation in organizations and fields

Shaz Ansari, Patrick Reinmoeller and Juliane Reinecke


New management practices play an important role in achieving and sustaining competitiveness at the firm, industry and the national levels (Mol and Birkinshaw 2008; Damanpour et al. 2009; Bloom and Van Reenen 2010; Volberda et al. 2013). While the rationale behind organizational adoption of new management practices is well researched (for example, Abrahamson 1991; Mazza and Alvarez 2000; Sturdy 2004; Mol and Birkinshaw 2009), the dynamics of their subsequent implementation and adaptation needs more scholarly attention (Bromley et al. 2012; Gondo and Amis 2013). Although much research has examined how practices diffuse (for example, Davis and Greve 1997; Westphal and Zajac 2001; Briscoe and Murphy 2012), recently more attention has been paid to how practices get reconfigured during implementation to make them meaningful and suitable within specific organizational contexts (Robertson et al. 1996; Sahlin-Andersson 1996; Westphal et al. 1997; Strang and Kim 2004; Ansari et al. 2010; Ansari et al. 2014). Examples include widely diffused practices such as TQM (David and Strang 2006; Kennedy and Fiss 2009), Six Sigma (Parast 2011; Canato et al. 2013), manufacturing best practice programs (Love and Cebon 2008), strategic planning (Bromley et al. 2012), self-managing teams (Vaccaro et al. 2012), corporate social responsibility (Höllerer 2013), but also newer practices including telemedicine (Nicolini 2010) and responsible investment (Gond and Boxenbaum 2013). Practice variation is thus likely to be the rule, rather than the exception (Mamman 2002; Campbell 2005; O’Mahoney 2007).

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