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Organizational structure and continuous improvement and learning: Moderating effects of cultural endorsement of participative leadership


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  • Xiaowen Huang

    (Department of Management, Farmer School of Business, Miami (OH) University, Oxford, USA)

  • Joseph C Rode

    (Department of Management, Farmer School of Business, Miami (OH) University, Oxford, USA)

  • Roger G Schroeder

    (Department of Organization and Strategy, Tilburg University, the Netherlands)

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    Building upon the culturally endorsed implicit theory of leadership, we investigated the moderating effects of national culture on the relationship between organizational structure and continuous improvement and learning. We propose that the relationship between organic organizations (characterized by flat, decentralized structures with a wide use of multifunctional employees) and continuous improvement and learning will be stronger when national cultural endorsement for participative leadership is high. We further propose that organizational group culture will moderate the relationship between organizational structure and continuous improvement and learning, but that these moderation effects will be stronger in national cultures with low endorsement of participative leadership. Empirical analysis of secondary survey data collected from 266 manufacturing plants operating in three industries and located in nine countries representing a diverse set of geographical regions provided support for the hypotheses. Overall, our findings indicate that, to fully realize the relationship between organic structures and continuous improvement and learning, managers must actively assess the extent to which the national culture endorses participative leadership. In cases where this endorsement is weak, managers should consider the extent to which the organizational culture will provide alternative support for the relationship.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal Journal of International Business Studies.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 9 (December)
    Pages: 1103-1120

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    Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:42:y:2011:i:9:p:1103-1120

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    Postal: Palgrave Macmillan Journals, Subscription Department, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS, UK

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    Cited by:
    1. Martin, Xavier, 2013. "Solving theoretical and empirical conundrums in international strategy research by matching foreign entry mode choices and performance," Open Access publications from Tilburg University, Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5637252, Tilburg University.


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