Chapter 7: Leadership, Administrative Heritage and Absorptive Capacity
This chapter presents a cross-case comparison which forms the basis for a theoretical framework explaining the role of the TMT in breaking with and leveraging administrative heritage to increase absorptive capacity. This broadly corresponds to Stage I of the integrative theoretical framework – ‘Break with the Past’ (see Chapter 3). Previous studies of transition economies have shown that enterprise transformation is hindered because changes in organisational structures and subsystems were not accompanied by parallel changes in the inherited organisational values and beliefs (Clark and Soulsby, 1995). In other words managerial learning goes beyond the acquisition of new techniques or singleloop learning and must extend to double-loop learning and the redeﬁnition of the tasks, and the goals and values that they reﬂect (Child and Czegledy, 1996). The key task for managers in such circumstances is to break with past values that no longer support the organisation in its new environment. In drawing on the empirical data from the study of the Russian oil industry this chapter therefore focuses on three speciﬁc areas. First I explain the characteristics of the top management team that promote the break with the past – an entrepreneurial approach, heterogeneity of the team and the presence of ‘outsiders’ (non-traditional managers). Second I describe the dual approach of the TMT in dealing with the past or what I term the administrative heritage, deﬁned as a conﬁguration of assets and capabilities, a set of routines and a distribution of managerial responsibilities and inﬂuence. The TMT...
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