oru.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
When the lights go out
Örebro University, Swedish Business School at Örebro University.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-2929OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-2929DiVA, id: diva2:135604
Available from: 2008-03-05 Created: 2008-03-05 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On closedowns: towards a pattern of explanations to the closedown effect
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On closedowns: towards a pattern of explanations to the closedown effect
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Productivity effects under uncertainty and threat is the topic of this thesis. It comprises a synthesis and four papers on closedown – focusing a phenomenon where there is an overall productivity increase during the closedown process. Productivity effects are the primary focus of this work’s case closedown studies, and uncertainty and threat the common denominator of the cases. This thesis contributes a theoretical foundation for analysis of closedowns. It identifies explanatory contributing factors and patterns which enable a better understanding of the Closedown effect.

The theoretical foundation for this thesis is outlined in the first paper. It recontextualizes the Hawthorne experiments by applying a closedown perspective to them. This new perspective identifies several similarities between the Hawthorne experiments and situations where closedown is threatened or decided. Originally the Hawthorne experiments were viewed as a closed system, laboratory experiments instead of actions on daily operations. The new perspective analyzed the prevalent threat implicit in the context that the Hawthorne experiments were conducted in. Such threat was identified in other earlier work on the Horndal and Closedown effect, situations where productivity also increased. Threat can act as a motivator or de-motivator. With the recontextualized perspective, it was found that employees become sensitive to their managerial and informational context, and so productivity patterns fluctuate. A productivity increase is observed overall when closedown is threatened. It is this phenomenon we term the Closedown effect.

In the second paper, a case study of the closure of a plant tracks productivity fluctuations and fine-tunes analysis of critical events that occur during a closedown process. It builds on the previous papers theoretical foundations and outlines a theoretical model for explaining the Closedown effect. Productivity development depends on workers’ interpretations of management information, and actions and reactions to the prevalent closedown. The dialectics between management and workers change during the closedown period – there were fewer conflicts, speeder conflict resolution, increased formal and informal worker autonomy, and more workers’ work design initiatives. A HRM-program initially had a positive effect on workers, but its importance diminished during the closedown period. The closedown decision generated structural changes: management control over daily operations diminished, informal leadership evolved and individualization grew stronger as the importance of informal groups deteriorated.

In the third paper a multiple case-study is presented. Lack of social responsibility characterizes the managerial setting in these cases, in contrast to the case study presented in the second paper. That is, here there was a lack of management support for worker activities in this particular closedown process. The Closedown effect was found to be statistically significant in three of the four cases. This paper also contributes a theoretical elaboration of the Closedown effect, including distinguishing the key aspects needed in a detailed analysis of the closedown process.

In the fourth paper the productivity paradox is examined with a holistic approach, which draws on Buckley’s (1967) modern systems theory. This holistic perspective considers changes in the initial economic and institutional structure, and assesses the dynamics that are triggered by the closedown decision. A closedown decision evidently reorders the equilibrium between management and the workers. The main holistic pattern that emerges is a new order, where worker self management replaces management control at plant level and workplace psychology is based on the apprehension of unfairness.

An empirically-close analysis approach is a recognized method for highlighting puzzling phenomenon and developing explanatory patterns. This empirically-close analysis of the empirical data generated in this thesis enabled identification of key factors to explain the appearance of the Closedown effect. Moreover, it was a means for generating a more rigorous theoretical understanding of the Closedown effect, and developing a pattern of explanations to this productivity increase effect.

A key theoretical contribution of this thesis is the identification of a range of concepts that form antecedent explanations to the Closedown effect’s occurrence. These antecedents are aggregated in themes: managerial actions, counter-institutional actions, conflict context, worker autonomy, perceived threat of job loss, collective action, economic and institutional reordering, and institutional restrictions. The following describes the influence of these aggregates and their temporal dynamics, in relationship to the Closedown effect.

The identification above factors and the generation of a theoretical framework to assess closedowns is the contribution this thesis makes. The significance of these for future research is also critically assessed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university, 2008. p. 158
Series
Örebro Studies in Business - Dissertations ; 1
Keywords
Closedown, Closedown effect, Downsizing, Productivity
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-1885 (URN)978-91-7668-584-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-03-28, HST, Teknikhuset, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-03-05 Created: 2008-03-05 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
2. From dusk till dawn: three essays on organizational closedowns
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From dusk till dawn: three essays on organizational closedowns
2005 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis present three essays on organizational closedowns, where productivity effects under uncertainty and threat on the single-firm level is in focus. On a broad level, this thesis aims to develop better explanations of the process of organizational closedowns. More specific, this thesis aims to outline a theoretical foundation for studies of organizational closedowns, unfold a closedown process and extend the explanations of productivity effects during closedowns, in different contexts. This is done in three essays on organizational closedowns.

 

These three essays have different methodological settings and it is argued that it is through the application of a variety of methods, that strength is obtained and supportive to the explorative endeavor that was carried out. The first essay is based on a critical review approach of the classical Hawthorne experiments. The second essay is based on a single case-study and the third on a multiple case-study in combination with a statistical analysis of the productivity development during the closedown processes.

 

In the first essay of this thesis a theoretical foundation is outlined from a recontextualization of the Hawthorne experiments that serve as a base for the following essays. By applying a closedown perspective, it is possible to view the Hawthorne experiments from a new perspective, where it is claimed that there are several similarities to these experiments and situations where a threat of or decision to closedown is present. The Hawthorne experiments were initially seen as a closed system, laboratory experiments instead of action experiments of daily operations. Analyzing the prevalent threat, in both the Hawthorne experiments and the settings where the Horndal as well as the Closedown effect have been observed it has been evident that productivity has increased. Threat can act as both a motivator and demotivator, and as shown in research on the Closedown effect, employees become sensitive to the managerial setting and information provided, why productivity tend to fluctuate. It is argued that the Closedown effect is a productivity increase effect that occurs, considering the entire closedown period.

 

In the second essay a single case study of a single-plant closure is unfolded. By following the closedown process of the firm critical events are tracked in order to explain the fluctuations in productivity. Throughout the closedown process productivity continued to increase as well as an all-time high was recorded. It was evident from this case study that the workers are highly sensitive to the management’s actions and way of providing information. The retrenchment program that was offered to the workers was of high importance in the initial phase of the closedown process, whereas it became diminishing in the latter phases. Supporting findings of previous research uncovered changes in psychological responses, structural settings, changes in cognitive and motivational manifestations as well as behavioral consequences. Increases in the operative space of the workers, innovative skills, workers autonomy, efforts and productivity were distinct behavioral consequences of closedown decision and develop during the closedown process. From this study both an empirical and a theoretical model for further research is suggested.

 

In the third essay of this thesis a multiple case-study is presented. Contrary to the case study presented in the second essay these cases are characterized by a Non-Social responsible managerial setting. That is, the management did not provide any supportive activities for the workers in the closedown process. The Closedown effect is statistically significant in all the cases. There is a need for an analytical distinction of the phases of the closedown process, in terms of the primary advanced notice period and the secondary countdown period. Based on the analysis, and with this distinction, we are able to conclude that the productivity increase effect can be anticipated during the countdown period. From this article a theoretical elaboration on both the Closedown effect as well as distinctions on certain terms valid for a detailed analysis of the closedown process is provided.

 

From the three essays the results are distilled as they are discussed respectively according to the theoretical and the empirical conclusions. From this the interrelationship between the results of the essays are discusses divided according to the managerial behavior, individual behavior and productivity development. In addition, a separate section presents the normative and practical implications from this research. At end and in line with a methodological triangulation the discussion on suggestions for further research provide a range of potent alternatives on future research on organizational closedowns.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västra Frölunda: Intelleca DocuSys, 2005. p. 233
Series
Studies from the Department of Technology at Örebro University, ISSN 1404-7225
Series
Örebro Studies in Business, ISSN 1651-8888 ; 3
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-31371 (URN)
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-10-11 Created: 2013-10-10 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Authority records BETA

Hansson, Magnus

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Hansson, Magnus
By organisation
Swedish Business School at Örebro University
Business Administration

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 103 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf