Buelens, Marc; Van De Woestyne, Mieke; Mestdagh, Steven; Bouckenooghe, Dave (2007)
This study provides insight into the dominant methodological practices that have shaped the field of negotiation over the past four decades, and sheds light on possible gaps and trade-offs. We content analyzed 941 peer reviewed negotiation articles (published between 1965-2004) for methodology. We distinguished key issues in negotiation research and identified methodological trends over time (1965-2004). The results reveal significant changes in reliability, validity and triangulation issues. In addition, the rise of multivariate statistics and multiple data-sources displays a positive evolution towards more sophisticated methodologies. However, more attention is needed to address the enduring lack of longitudinal designs and qualitative techniques in negotiation research. Keywords: negotiation, research methodology, review, validity, triangulation
Verweire, Kurt; Ferguson, Tamela; Debruyne, Marion (2007)
Competitive strategy is at the heart of the field of strategic management. But despite years of academic research, there is a lot of debate about what constitutes competitive strategy and how effective competitive strategies lead to superior performance. In this article, we argue that strategy is about making clear choices (“focus”) and about being different (“differentiation”) on four strategic dimensions, including: Whom do we serve?, What do we provide?, What is our value proposition?, and How do we realize all this? Although recent work has pointed to these conclusions, this paper goes one step further by providing more concrete ideas as to what focus and differentiation really mean for each of the various dimensions and why they matter. As such, we provide managers a framework that can be used to test the extent to which their strategies have the potential to be effective.
The aim of the paper is to explore the learning mode of small business owners, from a theoretical stance, and based on empirical evidence. We distinguish between the required learning mode, the actual learning mode and the supported learning mode. Data were collected using the focus group method in a very heterogeneous sample of Belgian small business owners. The results indicate several gaps between the required, actual and supported learning modes, of which many are due to unawareness of learning needs and lack of reflective learning among small business owners. The data also indicate among others that solutions to fill learning gaps proposed in the literature are not applicable to all owners, e.g. not all owners are able to learn through networks. Keywords: Belgium, learning capability, learning mode, learning gaps, learning process, learning support, reflective learning, research paper, small business owners, focus groups
The extent to which private and public sector employees differ in the importance they attach to different types of inducements being part of their employment deal and their evaluations of these inducements is studied. We focus on five content dimensions of the psychological contract: career development opportunities, job content, financial rewards, social atmosphere and respect for private life. Data from a survey of 4956 Belgian employees show that, compared to private sector employees, public sector employees are motivated by other inducements. In particular, they attach less importance to career development opportunities and financial rewards promises in their psychological contracts, and perceive these promises as less fulfilled. Keywords: psychological contract, public sector employees, private sector employees, motivation
Corporate strategic decisions regarding the international and product market scope of a firm's activities are the essence of corporate strategy, and how these choices in turn affect performance is the subject of a large body of research in the fields of international business and strategic management. When making these strategic decisions, managers are likely to take into account that these decisions are interrelated since they will require allocating a firm's fixed bundle of resources. Yet, the international business and strategy literatures have mostly treated these two scope decisions as independent strategies, and have also largely ignored the interrelated nature of these strategic scope decisions vis-à-vis their expected impact on performance. As a result, little is known about the nature of the relationship between these strategic choices - whether they are substitute or complementary strategies - or how they jointly impact firm performance. To address this important gap in our understanding of corporate strategy, this paper examines the joint and simultaneous nature of the relationships among these strategic scope decisions and firm performance in a unified framework. Our analysis serves to integrate prior international business and strategy research, and our model and empirical methods address a number of shortcomings of prior empirical studies. Our results indicate that the relationship between a firm's international and product market strategies and its performance is nonlinear, with performance first rising but then falling as the firm's international or product diversification rises, implying that the performance impact of these strategies is path dependent. Our results also provide the first evidence that, within the firm, international and product diversification are substitute strategies for performance. Keywords: Corporate Strategy, International Diversification, Product Diversification
Mainstream research on boards of directors has been focusing on a direct relationship between board characteristics and firm performance, but up till now the results are inconclusive. Although these studies revealed interesting and useful insights, little is known about the factors that shape board effectiveness. This paper aims to reduce this gap by exploring the variety of indicators that contribute to the effectiveness of boards. The paper derives from an interview-based investigation among 104 directors of Belgian listed companies. The findings are further elaborated with quantitative data from two written questionnaires, involving directors of non-listed companies and experts in the field of corporate governance. The results point to three major issues. First, there appears to be a gap between a limited number of structural board measures consistently found in literature and the systematic occurrence of a set of behavioural criteria of board effectiveness in the perceptions of (Belgian) directors. Second, the findings suggest that the value of independence may be overemphasized at the cost of the broader issue of diversity. Third, it appears that mainstream board research ignores to a large extent two additional conditions (the information flow and the leadership style of the chairman) under which a board of directors can make an effective contribution to the strategic direction and control of a company. Our findings suggest that the ambiguity found in current research evidence can to some extent be attributed to the ignorance of a wide range of interconnected structural (such as diversity and competence) and behavioural factors (such as trust, attitude, norms and conduct) which actually shape the effectiveness of boards in performing their roles.
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