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Organizational Identity, Adaptation to Discontinuous Change, and the Role of Family Ownership : Evidence from Publishing Houses' Responses to Digitization

2012-06-01 , Kammerlander, Nadine , König, Andreas , Enders, Albrecht

We work to unbundle the relationship between organizational identity and organizational adaptation to discontinuous technologies. While organizational identity has been envisaged as an impediment to the adoption of technological discontinuities by the majority of scholars, other research has recently portrayed organizational identity as a driver for change. We provide an explorative basis to reconcile these contradictions by dissecting elements of organizational identity that exacerbate organizational inertia and constitu-ents of organizational identity that enable organizations to respond earlier and more flexibly to environmental changes. Using field data on the response patterns of German publishing houses to the emergence of digitization and internet-enabled business models, we identify four distinct types of organizational identity, which we metaphorically label as Mercenaries, Knights, Villeins, and Samu-rai. These four identity types vary with regard to two dimensions of identity: focus, which ranges from highly intra- to highly extra domain focused, and locus of legitimacy, which ranges from highly self-related to highly environment-related. Furthermore, we propose that each of the four types of organizational identity entails a characteristic pattern of adaptation that is idiosyncratic regard-ing the response timing, the activeness versus passiveness of the response, and the type of active response strategies. Our re-search adds to the emerging stream of research on cognitive-emotional determinants of organizational adaptation, particularly by providing a framework that explains how variation in the identity of organizations causes variations in those organizations' adoption of technological discontinuities. We also enhance knowledge on family businesses by showing that family influenced b

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The Family Factor : Family Influence and Incumbent Response to Discontinuous Change

2011-08-15 , König, Andreas , Kammerlander, Nadine , Enders, Albrecht

Few topics have received more attention in the management literature than the faltering of established organizations in the face of discontinuous change. However, the role played by the social context of major shareholders, particularly families, has been largely underexplored. In this conceptual paper, we contribute to bridging this research gap by integrating the literature on organizational inertia with research on family businesses to explain how family influence affects the reaction of established organizations to technological discontinuities. Specifically, we propose that family firms adopt the innovation faster than their non-family owned counterparts; however, they take smaller, less aggressive initiatives and they encounter more difficulties in adopting new, non-paradigmatic routines than non-family owned firms. We also suggest that, when the technology is further emerging, family businesses show more stamina than other companies: that is, they are more willing to continue investing in a new technology, particularly after initial failure. Finally, we hypothesize that executive personality, particularly the openness to experience of the CEO, moderates the association between family influence and technology adoption. Our model has important implications for theory on organizational change and family business research.