Management Standards Adoption and Business Performance: Towards a Theory of Performance Attribution in Bandwagons

Dick, Gavin P.M. (2005) Management Standards Adoption and Business Performance: Towards a Theory of Performance Attribution in Bandwagons. In: American Academy of Management Conference 2005, August 2005, Honolula, Hawaii, USA. (Full text available)

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Abstract

The question of direction of causation is explored in management related fields such as Economics or Psychology but in the main, the possibility of reverse or bi-directional causation is ignored in Operations Management research. Indeed, in the research it is difficult to find papers that do not present results in ways that imply or assume that management system change leads to performance improvement. Even when researchers do acknowledge that cause and effect cannot be proven, when their findings enter the world of the consultant and practitioner the findings are always presented as if management system change leads to performance improvement. Overall, the research on quality management systems indicate that benefits are possible but the evidence is mixed (Sousa and Voss 2002). Could the explanation for this be the influence of different causation mechanisms, on cross-sections of high vs. low performing organizations, as quality management systems adoption becomes more widespread? The paper’s theory is grounded on empirical results that explore Quality Management System Certification to ISO 9000 Standards (hereafter referred to as QCert) and its benefits. The paper starts by defining a ‘causal quality improvement model’ and a series of propositions that can be used to test the validity of the causal paths. This is then used as a framework for analyzing the business benefits reported in the empirical literature. Particular attention is given to the results of three longitudinal studies that can show direction of causality. A theory is then expounded that can explain the contradictory findings in the literature on QCert and its links to business benefits. This theory acknowledges that cause and effect between QCert and business benefits exists in both directions but in different subsections of organizations within a cross-section of certified and non-certified organizations. The paper then suggests ways that this theory may be useful in fully understanding cause and effect mechanisms in management system adoption studies that claim performance improvement.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: Causality, ISO 9000, Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Business School > Business process/operations
Depositing User: Gavin Dick
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2014 15:35 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2014 10:44 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/37766 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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