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Behavioural Economics in the Context of Social Science Methodology

Abstract

Purpose: The article discusses selected methodological issues of natural and social sciences with particular consideration of behavioural economics to highlight the significance of experimental research. Design approach: The order of the issues covered is as follows: (a) science as a product of a research community, (b) basic cognitive activities in science, (c) a short description of social sciences, (d) a discussion on the methods applied in behavioural economics. Findings: The article offers a description of research procedure, its objectives and the methods applied therein; it has been stressed that testing theories and hypotheses involves exposing them to falsification; it has been emphasised that research conducted within the framework of social sciences is more difficult than in the case of natural sciences because of the large number of independent variables and the possible interaction between the researcher and research participants. Practical implications: The content presented in the article highlights the value of scientific findings as opposed to common-sense knowledge adopted with the disregard of the principles of proper methodology. Value: The authors believe that the emergence of behavioural economics was an attempt to overcome certain deficiencies in the methodology of classical economics by means of experimental research.

Open access
Creating and Delivering Value for Consumers of Healthy Food – a Case Study of Organic Farma Zdrowia S.A.

Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to analyse selected aspects of the marketing strategy of the first and biggest network of self-service shops with organic products in Poland - Organic Farma Zdrowia. Methodology: The adopted methodology involves a qualitative approach. The case study is based on an analysis of company documents and marketing communication, especially that offered on its website and in its social media channels. Findings: The company specializes in distribution of organic products in Poland. It has gone through organic growth, acquisitions, attracting a Dutch investment fund, and entering the NewConnect stock exchange. It operates based on the model of multichannel distribution, combining physical and online retailing. The assortment consists of 4,000 products, including organic food, cosmetics, and cleaning aids. The company has managed to create 3 own label product lines. The online retailer belonging to the company (organic24.pl) is organized in a professional way, although some improvements are possible. In 2015, the company engaged in ambitious marketing projects. Practical implications: The findings may be useful for the Organic Farma Zdrowia company as certain modifications in its marketing communication are recommended. Other companies operating in the sector may also benefit from the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the business in question. Furthermore, our case study may offer a framework of reference for researchers interested in this area. Originality: This is the first study to examine the strategy and marketing activities of Organic Farma Zdrowia, a major player in the sector of organic food distribution in Poland.

Open access
Exploring Companies’ Innovation Policies in the Industrial Sector in Central and Eastern Europe

Abstract

Purpose: Despite the importance of innovation, the full innovation potential of companies operating in the industrial sector of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) seems not to have been unlocked yet. Thus, the primary purpose of the study was to explore the key elements of company innovation policies applied on the way to successful innovation. Methodology: The study is based on qualitative methods. The aim of the study has been achieved through 24 semi-structured interviews conducted with senior management, project leaders, and R&D specialists employed at companies operating in the industrial sector in CEE. The time frame covers the period of the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017. Findings: Managing disruption consists of focusing on innovation development stage and following market imperatives by making the innovation try to address the market needs. Balancing portfolio requires considering product and process innovation jointly. Furthermore, 62% of the interviewees say that breakthrough innovation results ultimately from numerous incremental advancements. As far as policy integration is concerned, achieving competitive advantage through internal research is common amongst technological leaders, while market contenders turn to external cooperation. Moreover, incorporating CSV principles into the concept of innovation policy appears to be a necessity. Managing intangibilities comes down to patents. Research limitations: The research was burdened with such limitations as respondents experiencing time pressure and the use of only one source of information (the interviewees). Originality: Despite much general evidence, the study attempts to complement the rare qualitative studies on innovation in CEE. It was carried out as a response to the lack of an in-depth study covering such recurrent challenges in the field of company innovation policies as disruption, portfolio balancing, integration, intangibilities’ management, and play.

Open access
How to Successfully Internationalize SMEs from the CEE Region: The Role of Strategies of Differentiation and Education

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to better understand why some SMEs who pursue a niche strategy on the international scale are more effective with a differentiation via innovation while others with marketing differentiation. Methodology: Therefore, the paper studies the effectiveness of different points of differentiation (innovation, marketing) of hidden champion type of companies: (1) from the perspective of the unknowns of the key success factors in the specific market segment, and (2) from the perspective of the professional mindset/education of the strategist. Findings: The results show that differentiation via innovation positively impacts firm performance when there are many market unknowns over key success factors, whereas marketing differentiation positively impacts firm performance when there are few market unknowns over key success factors. On the other hand, when top management earns a business education, the impact of marketing differentiation on firm performance is significant, positive, and strong. The effectiveness of differentiation via innovation does not depend on education. Research limitations/implications: These results mostly consider the hidden champion type of companies, which prefer not to reveal themselves or their data to the public. The transferability of this research is thus limited. Originality/value: This paper studies the hidden champion type of companies, which usually receive little attention from researchers, through the lens of differentiation via innovation and marketing differentiation as two distinct ways of competing as their effectiveness is contingent on the market unknowns.

Open access
Impressions of Competency: Tactics and a Conceptual Model

Abstract

Purpose: The study introduces a research stream of impressions of competency (IC) within the impression management field. The need for more understanding and research on IC within the field stems from the rising levels of information processing and competency expectations at work. This shift towards knowledge-intensive processes within organizations creates an environment in which the need to be perceived as competent has become even more relevant. As a result, employees may rely on IC tactics, if the expectation is that they appear as knowledgeable, skilled, and intelligent (i.e., competent). Methodology: The paper first includes a new typology of IC tactics that comprises impression management strategies used by individuals specifically to attain an enhanced image of competence in the workplace. Second, it provides a conceptual model and offers propositions with regards to the antecedents, effectiveness, and outcomes of IC tactics for consideration in future research. Conclusions: The research suggests that higher social norms of displaying competency in the workplace will contribute to higher IC tactic use especially by individuals keen on self-monitoring. Furthermore, politically skilled individuals are more effective with IC tactics, which results in more desirable evaluations of performance. Research limitations: This is a theoretical and conceptual study. It formulates propositions for further empirical research studies. Originality: This paper introduces IC within the impression management field by identifying IC tactics and developing a conceptual model for the examination of their effectiveness in the workplace.

Open access
Interorganizational Network Embeddedness and Performance of Companies Active on Foreign Markets

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the article is to identify the impact of interorganizational network embeddedness and relationships on companies’ performance by exploring the perspective of companies active on foreign markets. Methodology: The article presents results of an empirical quantitative analysis. The data has been collected through an anonymous online and postal survey. The analysis focuses on 345 companies active on foreign markets and involves a Mann-Whitney U test and a regression analysis. Findings: The conducted analysis points to the importance of the degree of interorganizational network embeddedness for the performance of companies active on foreign markets. It shows that the higher the degree of the overall network embeddedness (measured with adaptations, trust and mutuality), the higher the company’s perceived performance relative to its competitors. Limitations: The analysis focuses on the degree of network embeddedness as a moderating factor of companies’ performance, excluding other complex factors that may affect their performance. Value: The analysis highlights the importance of interorganizational network embeddedness for the performance of companies operating on foreign markets. It is not limited to multinational enterprises, but shows the importance of embeddedness for companies of different sizes and structures. The analysis is followed by a set of managerial implications relevant to the subject presented in the paper.

Open access
Motivational Factors to be a Mentor in Formal Mentoring in Organisations. The Role of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in the Propensity to Mentor

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the motivational factors of propensity to be a mentor by managers in a formal mentoring in organisations. The author addresses the importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and examines their relation to the propensity to mentor. The second objective was to critically analyse whether managers deciding to mentor do so for egoistic or altruistic reasons - for self-benefits or others’ benefits. The third task concentrates on the role of extrinsic motivational factors, especially additional remuneration on the propensity to mentor. Methodology: For this study, the author applied quantitative research among Polish managers working in medium and large size organisations. The author examines the correlation between dependent and independent variables and addresses the impact of control variables as moderators. Findings: First, the results support managers’ high propensity to mentor in a formal mentoring programme. Second, the study finds that intrinsic motivation was the salient factor taken into consideration in the propensity to mentor, whereas extrinsic motivation exerted very little influence. Third, the study confirms a pattern of motivational pluralism based on the fact that both kinds of intrinsic motivators in the propensity to mentor - for the benefit of oneself or others - appear equally significant. Fourth, the research finds that additional remuneration does not motivate managers to mentor. No moderation effects of age, gender, kind of organisation and carrier level on the propensity to mentor were observed. Research implications: The confirmation of Polish managers’ high propensity to mentor contradicts conventional wisdom in some organisations that managers overloaded with work are unwilling to mentor. The finding that managers want to be mentors may encourage organisations to implement mentoring programmes without fear of a shortage of prospective mentors. Based on observed behaviour and the importance of motivational factors, this study delivers valuable guidelines on the recruitment and selection of mentors for HR departments. The results that managers exclusively follow intrinsic motivation in the propensity to mentor should be considered in designing the methodology of mentors’ selection.

Open access
Open Models of Innovation Processes as a Future Management Challenge for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Poland

Abstract

Purpose: The increasing pace of technological progress, hyper-competitiveness, volatility of markets, dominant in the contemporary society all cause significant changes in the approach to innovation and lead to the emergence of a new generation of models of innovation processes. An open innovation model is based on a systematic search for as well as research and use of various sources of opportunities for innovations that offer commercial potential. The main objective of this article is to analyse the possibilities of application of models of open innovation in management of micro, small, and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Poland. This article intends to explore the essence of open innovation by values, its inception, and conditions for its implementation in the management process specific to the SME sector. Methodology: The study has been based on in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted among business managers/owners responsible for innovation development of SMEs in Poland (16 interviews in total). Findings: SMEs usually do not have their own research and development (R&D) departments, but need external support and R&D solutions tailored to their needs. SMEs need innovations and skills, which requires close cooperation with different partners. In order for SMEs to benefit from innovation processes, a structured cooperation not only with scientists and researchers, but also with other market partners needs to be established and intensified. It changes both the creation of intellectual capital and the ways to manage it. Originality: The new approach in the context of management of innovation is now one of the key challenges faced by smaller businesses. It is necessary to make changes in the approach to integration of external sources of innovation with the potential and resources at the disposal of a given company.

Open access
The Specificity of Boards of Directors in Russian Companies

Abstract

Purpose: The primary purpose of the article is to present the specificity of Russian boards of directors, critically analyze their main characteristics, and consider their relations to selected corporate governance mechanisms in Russia. Methodology: The article was prepared based on specialist literature, which pertains to the theoretical aspects of the boards of directors’ activity and the changes in the corporate governance system in Russia. The qualitative research on the boards of directors’ key characteristics in the Russian public companies was based on SPARK data. Findings: The central features of the boards of directors in the Russian companies depend on the key events in the Russian economy - such as financial and economic crises - changes in the companies’ ownership structure, including the participation of the state in ownership, as well as on their activity on the Russian and international financial market. Research limitations: Research limitations resulted mainly from the lack of access to all the data about the directors of the companies under examination, including their independence from or obligation to the state institutions. Originality: The research on the Russian joint-stock companies - that is, corporate governance in Russia with its mechanisms - is a relatively new issue in the Polish specialist literature. They may be an important trigger for comparative studies in the field of corporate governance in Central and Eastern European economies.

Open access