Antecedents of Behavior Supporting Bottom-Up Operations Strategy Formation
34 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2019
Date Written: June 28, 2019
Companies with high levels of bottom-up participation in operations strategy formation significantly outperform their peers in terms of productivity improvements. Unlike corporate strategy, operations strategy is influenced far more by operational employees through strategy-supportive behavior. The literature on bottom-up initiatives is vague about the antecedents of voluntary contributions to operations strategy formation; research on the possible antecedents of employee behavior more generally is inconclusive about its relation to bottom-up operations strategy formation. Survey data from 209 respondents is analyzed with structural equation modeling to test the hypothesized relationships. This paper develops the operations strategy opportunity-motivation-ability (OMA) framework. Leaders have to establish autonomy and structured idea management processes (O) top-down. Only then, employees can feel strategically aligned (A) and engage (M), and thus contribute to operations strategy bottom-up. In addition, we show that the indirect relations between top-down opportunities and behavior supporting bottom-up operations strategy formation are mediated by perceived strategic alignment and by employee engagement. Managers must first establish opportunities to behave strategy supportive. Only afterwards efforts to foster strategic alignment and employee engagement unlock the full potential of the contextual antecedents. Our findings enable operations managers to foster behavior supporting bottom-up operations strategy formation more effectively in their workforce.
Keywords: Operations strategy formation, bottom-up initiatives, autonomy, employee engagement, strategic alignment, structured idea management processes
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