Strategic configurations of system resources: configurations for the organizational orientation to change context creation competency
Black, Janice Anne Donahoo
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During the preponderance of their lifetime, most companies do not attain average profitability rates much less above average ones. Although external elements such as market and industry position were the prominent form of determining firm survival and success in the past, a recent stream of research, the resource based view has refocused attention internally. This dissertation examines the "bundling" of the resources that is referred to in the resource based (and core competency) literature and which results in the creation of a competency. In particular, this dissertation examines a strategically important competency in an organization, the creation of an organizational context needed for organizational learning to occur. A framework provided by Ghoshal and Bartlett (1994) for the context creation calls for a set of four key attributes: discipline, stretch, trust, and support. The competency configurations among these key attributes and their interaction terms are examined to determine if some particular configuration of relationships among them is necessary for both higher levels of the competency and higher performance by comparing the configurations of competencies from high and low competency levels and high and low performance levels within and across sites and then across industry and firm boundaries. Such comparisons enable this dissertation to begin to open the "black box" on the bundling of resources. The dissertation finds that those maps created from high levels of orientation to change or performance are more similar with each other within sites, across sites, and across firms and industries. The range of variability across the high level maps was small when compared to the range found in the low level maps. In other words, there are many diverse ways to fail and only a few similar ways to succeed. This dissertation also found that being ready to change need not adversely affect performance since similar configurations are found in both high maps. Thus the bundling of this competencies resources appears to matter. Although these configurations were compared across sites within a firm and between firms, only a few actual sites were analyzed and, hence, there is room for further corroboration in future research.