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Improvised routines driving best practices: investing in disobedience

Improvised routines driving best practices: investing in disobedience The purpose of this paper is to examine different processes four organizations use to achieve best practices. There is an apparent contradiction between projects designed to create innovation and rigid rule following used for productivity. While both contribute to best practices this study describes a third source. Employees disobeyed rules and, in some cases, the results became best practices. This study identifies three management responses to deviant employee behaviors.Design/methodology/approachThis study uses a multi-case field study design built upon organizational theory in the area of work structures. It uses qualitative methods based on grounded theory. Interviews, observations and archival data were used to triangulate findings. Four firms were selected to participate. One global and one regional accounting firm were compared and contrasted with one global and one regional manufacturing firm.FindingsThe paper provides insights about how change occurs not only from intentional innovation but also from disobeying rigid rules designed to enhance productivity. It also highlights three specific management responses to deviant behavior and the conditions under which each is selected.Research limitations/implicationsBecause of the chosen research approach, this research may not be easily generalized. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to further test the proposed conclusions. The paper expands organizational routine theory to examine how improvisation may change the structure of a formal work process.Practical implicationsThe paper includes management implications. It suggests that rigid conformance to rules may inhibit a possible source of best practice innovation and gives management potential reasons to rethink imposed constraints.Social implicationsRelationships of supervisory action to employee performance and productivity become more important when innovation and efficiency are sought in an organization. These relationships should be examined with a specific outcome in mind. There may be a choice between control and discovery that will require further consideration by management.Originality/valueMany studies look at processes, procedures and organizational routines, most assuming that what is designed is implemented. Others consider deviant behavior usually in a negative light. This paper provides insights into non-conforming actions by employees and the positive unexpected results that can occur, taking into consideration the studies that took this approach to innovation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management Emerald Publishing

Improvised routines driving best practices: investing in disobedience

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References (83)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1176-6093
DOI
10.1108/qram-07-2018-0048
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine different processes four organizations use to achieve best practices. There is an apparent contradiction between projects designed to create innovation and rigid rule following used for productivity. While both contribute to best practices this study describes a third source. Employees disobeyed rules and, in some cases, the results became best practices. This study identifies three management responses to deviant employee behaviors.Design/methodology/approachThis study uses a multi-case field study design built upon organizational theory in the area of work structures. It uses qualitative methods based on grounded theory. Interviews, observations and archival data were used to triangulate findings. Four firms were selected to participate. One global and one regional accounting firm were compared and contrasted with one global and one regional manufacturing firm.FindingsThe paper provides insights about how change occurs not only from intentional innovation but also from disobeying rigid rules designed to enhance productivity. It also highlights three specific management responses to deviant behavior and the conditions under which each is selected.Research limitations/implicationsBecause of the chosen research approach, this research may not be easily generalized. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to further test the proposed conclusions. The paper expands organizational routine theory to examine how improvisation may change the structure of a formal work process.Practical implicationsThe paper includes management implications. It suggests that rigid conformance to rules may inhibit a possible source of best practice innovation and gives management potential reasons to rethink imposed constraints.Social implicationsRelationships of supervisory action to employee performance and productivity become more important when innovation and efficiency are sought in an organization. These relationships should be examined with a specific outcome in mind. There may be a choice between control and discovery that will require further consideration by management.Originality/valueMany studies look at processes, procedures and organizational routines, most assuming that what is designed is implemented. Others consider deviant behavior usually in a negative light. This paper provides insights into non-conforming actions by employees and the positive unexpected results that can occur, taking into consideration the studies that took this approach to innovation.

Journal

Qualitative Research in Accounting & ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 15, 2020

Keywords: Organizational change; Organizational routine; Innovation; Improvisation; Deviant behavior; Best practices

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