Online from: 1971
Subject Area: Human Resource Management
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|Title:||Shifting frontiers of control during closedown processes|
|Author(s):||Rune Wigblad, (Department of Economy and Society, Dalarna University College, Borlänge, Sweden), Magnus Hansson, (Swedish Business School, Centre for Empirical Research on Organisational Control (CEROC), Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden), Keith Townsend, (Centre for Research on Work, Organisation and Wellbeing, and The Department of Employment Relations and Human Resources, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia), John Lewer, (School of Business and Management, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)|
|Citation:||Rune Wigblad, Magnus Hansson, Keith Townsend, John Lewer, (2012) "Shifting frontiers of control during closedown processes", Personnel Review, Vol. 41 Iss: 2, pp.160 - 179|
|Keywords:||Autonomy, Closedown effect, Control, Frontiers of control, Manufacturing consent, Manufacturing industries, Manufacturing systems, Plant closure|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/00483481211200015 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – This paper aims to explore and analyse how shifting frontiers of control emerge and change the labour process so that restrictions to output become diminished, subsequently affecting organisational performance.
Design/methodology/approach – Multiple case study design. Interviews with 104 respondents. Analysis of productivity statistics in order to test for the statistical significance of the closedown effect. Single multiple regression analysis of the comparative strength, of the closedown effect, between cases.
Findings – Shifting frontiers of control arise during the closedown process, a control system characterised by markedly unrestricted autonomy for the workers as the management frontiers of control abate. This provides an operative space for informal work practices, innovation and emerging new industrial relations, accounting for the higher levels of output.
Research limitations/implications – A multiple case study of three different manufacturing organisations, with comparably long closedown periods. The authors do not analyse the sustainability of the increase in output or the generalisibility of the closedown effect to other industries.
Practical implications – It is possible to anticipate improved productivity if shifting frontiers of control are rapidly replacing the old. If management abandons the old control mechanisms, previous to the closedown decision, and provides operative space for workers' initiatives and informal leadership during the closedown process, it is possible to expect good performance, enabling a scope for extended closedown periods.
Originality/value – This is the first study that analyses the comparative strength of the closedown effect and how restricted work practices change under the process of closedown.
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