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HowMiddle Managers’ Networks Influencethe Interpretation and Effectiveness of HRM Practices DesignedtoInstillValues in anOrganization Santiago Garcia UniversitatPolitècnica de Catalunya Joan Mundet UniversitatPolitècnica de Catalunya Elisabet Garriga EADA Business School EBEN AnnualConference 2010, TRENTO (Italy) 08 September 2010
Thispaperisabout: Theprocess of translatingvaluesintoconsistentbehavioramongorganizationalactors (Driscoll and Hoffman, 1999; Cameron and Quinn, 1999; Elliott, 2004) HRM practices as a primarymechanismtoembedvalues in anorganization (Wilkins, 1984; Schein, 1985; Ulrich, 2005) Theinfluence of Middle Managers in theprocess of instillingvalues in anorganization (Valentino, 2004; Nielsen, 2009) 02
MIDDLE MANAGERS’ SENSEMAKING Balogun and Johnson, 2005: Theinterpretationsmiddle managers make of changes – such are theintroduction of new HRM practices- ariseprimarilyfrom lateral, informal, social interactionsbetweenthemselves. Onequestionremainsunexplored: How do those social interactionsshapemiddle managers’ interpretations of HRM practicesdesignedtoinstillvalues in anorganization? 03
SOCIAL NETWORKS Wasserman and Faust, 1994: Networks of informal social interactionsamonggroupmembersimpactthefunctioning of thegroup and can beanalyzed as a separatereality Galaskiewicz and Wasserman, 1994: Thebehavior of organizationalactorsisstronglyinfluencedbythestructure, content, and the position theyoccupywithintheir social networks. 04
Thereisscientificliteratureonhow social networksinfluence: Generation of strategicinitiatives (Wooldridge and Floyd, 1999) Organizationalcapabilities (Pappas and Wooldridge, 2002) Companyinnovativess (Rodan and Galunic, 2004) Howworkisactually done (Cross et al., 2002) 05
Ourpurpose: Toexplainhowcertaincharacteristics of middle managers’ social networksinfluencetheirinterpretation (sensemaking), and thustheeffectiveness, of HumanResourcespracticesdesignedtoinstillvalues in anorganization. From a practicalstandpointwearguethatfirm’sleadersmay use social networksanalysis (SNA) to monitor and influencethedevelopment of analigned, sharedinterpretation of thosepracticesamongmiddle managers. 06
Informal relationsbetweenmiddlemanagement and companyleaders. Valentino, 2004: Isolationfromsenior managers, notbeingheardorinformed, and lack of communicationsystemsamongthekeybarrierstothetransmission of values. Kijkuit and Van den Ende, 2007: Networks thatincludedecisionmakers and relyonrepeatedcommunication reduce uncertainty and ambiguity. 08
Proposition #1: Those middle managers who are linked to company leaders through multiple, strong, reciprocal ties will more likely develop an interpretation of corporate initiatives aimed at instilling values in the organization aligned to top management intentions. 09
Middle managers’ centrality and prestige. Huy, 2001: If top managers are abletoidentify and getonboardthosewho are highlysoughtafterbypeoplearoundthem, and knowhowto “pulltherightstrings”, they can becomeeffectiveambassadors of change. 10
Proposition #2: Those middle managers with the most prestige and centrality within their networks are likely to have more influence in the development of a shared interpretation of HRM practices among the middle ranks of the organization. 11
Network cohesiveness. Rowley, 1997: As thenumber of tieslinkinggroupmembersgrows, communicationsbecome more efficient, and thelikelihoodthatsharedbehavioralexpectations are establishedincreases. Oliver, 1991: In fragmentednetworksactorshave more discretionovertheirinterpretations and actions, so behavioralnorms are lesslikelytoform. 12
Proposition #3: Middle managers are more likely to develop shared interpretations of changes in HRM practices when the characteristics of their lateral informal social relations define a cohesive network. 13
Futureresearch: Empiricalvalidation. Transformpropositionsintotestablehypotheses. Select HRM practices, takingintoconsiderationunevencentralization. Measuring and comparinginterpretations of behavioralexpectations. Extensions: - Relativeimportance of differentnetwork’sattributes. - Relationswith and amongthe base of theorganization.
Impact of companysize, middle managers’ backgrounds and other variables.
Middle managers interpretations of othervalueinstillinginitiatives.
Conclusions: Middle managers play a key role in theprocess of instillingvalues in anorganization. Thestructure and content of middle managers’ networksinfluencethedevelopment of analigned, sharedinterpretation, and thustheeffectiveness, of HRM practicesdesignedtoinstillvalues in anorganization. Firms’ leadersmayinfluencethedevelopment of suchinterpretationby: Strengtheningtheir social tieswithmiddle managers, particularlywiththosewiththemostprestige and central positions withintheirnetworks Fosteringthedevelopment of cohesivenetworksamongmiddlemanagement. 15