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Contribution Details

Type Working Paper
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Qualifying “fit”: the performance dynamics of firms’ change tracks through organizational configurations
Organization Unit
  • Johannes Meuer
  • Christian Rupietta
  • English
Institution Compasss
Series Name Compasss Working Papers
Number 2014-81
Date 2015
Abstract Text Organizational configurations, sets of firms with similarities in a number of essential characteristics, provide important insights into the synergies inherent to certain combinations of structural attributes and the performance effects of firms’ retention of, adaptation to, or decoupling from high-performing configurations. The fundamental assumption is that the better a firm’s “fit” with an ideal type configuration, the higher its performance. Although configurations are multidimensional constructs, researchers often simplify the dynamics of structural changes of configurations and the movement of firms within and between them. This simplification risks mis-specifying the organizational changes necessary for firms to achieve high performance. Using a mix of set-theoretic and econometric methods, we analyze a balanced panel of 244 Swiss firms in 2005, 2008, and 2011. We identify four temporally stable high-performing configurations: the “professional service firm,” the “organic,” the “mechanistic,” and the “small bureaucracy,” and demonstrate that even within this relatively short period, firms are exceptionally versatile in their change tracks. Thus high-performing configurations appear enduring not despite but because of firms' movements through these configurations. Furthermore, we demonstrate the complexity of the fit-performance association and argue that firms with a good fit will not only benefit from implementing an efficient yet firm-unspecific organizational structure, but will—through this configuration additionally improve their ability to exploit inimitable firm-specific resources.
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Keywords Organizational configurations, performance dynamics, multi-level analysis, temporal, fsQCA, balanced panel