Abstract: Group Presentation
Freitag, M. (Principal Contact); Lang, R. (Chair); Baitsch, C.; Beelitz, N.; Bleicher, A.; Schoene, R. (Participants); Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany .
Interorganizational development in times of economic transition - The role of leadership, trust, and cooperation in networks of small and medium-sized enterprises
The transformation process in Central and East
European countries is closely connected with a break down of the old structures
and value systems as well as - at least in East Germany - with a massive
restructuring and downsizing of the enterprises from an industrial structure
with big combines and enterprises to a structure where small firms are
dominating. Small and medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the former socialist
countries struggle with the typical shortcomings of SMEs and additionally
have to deal with a phalanx of well established competitors on the global
market. The lack of specific management knowledge in these SMEs further
reduces their chances of survival.
Networks of small firms are seen as a possible solution which could support the restructuring of a traditionally industrialized region as South West Saxony.
A cooperative network is a set of companies engaged in common profit-oriented economic activities. The relationships of network members are based on reciprocity and are relatively stable. The network members keep their own legal structure, but establish new economic structures and dependencies in the network. The network is based on the mutual commitment to cooperate. The panel will discuss the process of building networks as a case of interorganizational development and will focus on leadership, trust in networks and on methodological issues.
TRANSITION LEADERSHIP TRUST COOPERATION NETWORK
Freitag, M., and Schoene, R.; Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany
The role of trust in small firm networks
Trust is an essential element in the new emerging
forms of economic exchange like networks or virtual organizations if long-term,
non-hierarchical relationships are to be sustained. The paper will discuss
different conceptual perspectives of trust in and between individuals and
organizations (e.g. Kramer & Tyler, 1996) and it will present a framework
how (inter-) organizational structures influence trust and vice versa.
Different methods to create, stabilize and reproduce trust in networks
and different indicators of trust will be described in a case study. The
empirical background is a longitudinal field study (1996-2000) in the former
GDR, which started with 40 SMEs in five networks and investigates the development
of cooperation. The theory, the methods and the results are discussed in
terms of their implications for the interorganizational development.
Kramer, R. M.; Tyler, T. R. (1996). Trust in Organizations. Frontiers of Theory and Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
COOPERATION TRUST INTERORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Lang, R.; Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany
Leadership in small firm networks in transformational settings
The development of cooperative networks could be supported by the activities
of managers. In situations of transformation and radical cultural change,
structural forms of management and leadership seems to be less important,
on the other hand personal, interactive forms of leadership (re-)gain importance
(e.g. Marr, 1994; Kozminski, 1995; Lang & Alt, 1996).
The questions arising from this position are:
1. What kind of leadership is adequate for the situation and could contribute
to the development of small firm networks (normative point of view) ?
2. What kinds of leadership are emerging in these network firms in the transforming societies (descriptive point of view) ?
To answer the questions results of empirical studies on leadership in East Germany conducted by the author himself and others will be discussed with respect to small firms as well to networks of small firms.
Kozminski, A.J. (1995): From the Communist Nomenklatura to Transformational Leadership: The Role of Management in the Post-Communist Enterprise, in: Grancelli, B. (ed.): Social Change and Modernization. Berlin, New York, 83-106.
Lang, R. & Alt, R. (1996): Handlungsspielraeume des ostdeutschen Managements im Umbruch, in: Sadowski, D. & Czap, H./Waechter, H. (eds.): Regulierung und Unternehmenspolitik. Wiesbaden, 355-377.
Marr, R. (1994): Die Rolle der Fuehrungskraefte im Prozess der Transformation eines Wirtschaftssystems von der Plan- zur Marktwirtschaft, in: von Rosenstiel, L. (ed.): Fuehrung im Systemwandel. Untersuchungen zum Fuehrungsverhalten beim Uebergang von der Plan- in die Marktwirtschaft. Mering.
LEADERSHIP TRANSFORMATION NETWORK
Beelitz, N., and Baitsch, C.; Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany
COIN - Cooperation in Networks. A psychological instrument for analyzing and designing SME networks
Due to the economic and technological change, SME are forced in the present situation to confront themselves with new forms of economic exchange like virtual organizations, boundaryless firms and they increasingly get organized in networks. Cooperation between SME vary with respect to their temporary stability, their intensity, their commitment as well as their extension.
On this background new issues for work and organizational psychology
- selection- and cooptation processes
- convergence and divergence of expectations of the network members (e.g. benefit, involvement)
- quality measures for work process and work result in networks
Recent experiences were able to show that external consultation
supporting the process of networks is effective and necessary. Therefore
we are proposing an instrument of analysis that can used by consultants
and which is able to contribute scientifically to the above mentioned issues.
The aim consists in supporting - on a theoretical background - the
creation and the task fulfilment of networks. In addition, the instrument
predictions concerning the probability of innovative behavior in networks.
The instrument of analysis connects different dimensions. Objective
characteristics (e.g. temporary stability /length of cooperation and material
resources) as well as social psychological (e.g. communication patterns,
sympathy) and cognitive (e.g. former experience, problem solving styles)
aspects are taken into account.
COOPERATION NETWORKS SMES
Bleicher, A., and Schöne R.; Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany
Cooperative behavior as an outcome of a structuration process in networks
Cooperation is an ambiguous concept. In general
it obviously has the meaning of acting together. Narrowing the focus, cooperative
networks can be described as an set of enterprises which have a shared
goal, behave non competitive to each other and are not hierarchically organized
among each other. A cooperative network has to generate both a cooperative
structure including all network-members as well as regular cooperative
behavior among the network actors. According to Giddens (1984) both the
existence of structures as well as the actions themselves constitute this
regularity. He attempted to articulate a process-oriented theory that treats
structure as a product of and a constraint on human action: „According
to the notion of the duality of structure, the structural properties of
social systems are both medium and outcome of the practices they recursively
organize“ (Giddens 1984, p. 25) Based on the theory of structuration the
development of a cooperative network can be described as a continuous process
that is altering between the realm of structures and the realm of actions.
For instance, the process of coopting new network members can be described
as a process that leads from the encoding and enacting of the structures
to the revision or replication of the structure by choosing an action.
How cooperative behavior emerges in networks is shown in a case study.
Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of Society. Outline of the Theory of Structuration. Berkeley.
COOPERATION STRUCTURATION NETWORK