Child 1974 was among the first to propose that

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Unformatted text preview: nomic performance (Papadakis, 1998; Bourgeois, 1985). Child (1974) was among the first to propose that homogeneity among the members of the top management team as to the objectives contributes to higher performance (Papadakis, 1998). Similarly, Bourgeois (1981) argued that the organisational slack generated by business success functions as a source of conflict resolution. Since when a company is on a “winning track” (Papadakis, 1998) everyone prefers to be associated with the winner and there is less place for political activities and long debates over goals and priorities (Dess, 1987). A number of empirical studies have confirmed the existence of a positive relationship between organisational performance and consensus. For example, Eisenhardt and Bourgeois conducted several studies on decision-making in dynamic environments. The results from one of their studies suggested that political behaviour within top management teams leads to poor organisational performance (Eisenhardt and Bourgeois, 1988). However, the majority of studies in this area have been conducted in the laboratory, where environmental forces are not an issue, and the few field studies that have been carried out have not attempted to assess actual decision outcomes (Schweiger et al., 1986). The exception is Dean and Sharfman’s 1996 study of twenty-four companies in sixteen industries, which provided an indication that the decision process that was followed influenced the decision-making effectiveness. Unlike earlier studies, the researchers included environmental factors and the quality of implementation of the decision in their model. One of their main findings was that managers who engaged in the use of power or pushed hidden agendas were less effective than were those who did not. Other studies by Janis (1989), Ford (1989) and Nutt (1993) have all indicated a link between politics and unsuccessful decisions. 35 However, conversely, some researchers have provided evidence that too much internal consensus may be dysfunctional. For example, Whitney and Smith (1983) argued that an emphasis on organisational or management consensus could reduce individuals’ receptivity to information that contradicts the views of the dominant coalition despite the fact that such information may be vital for the quality of the final decision. Thus, the pressure for consensus postulated by normative methods to decision-making may produce negative results (Papadakis, 1998). Investigating the performance-consensus relationship, Grinyer and Norburn (1977-78) found that the highest performing firms experienced a negative correlation between performance and consensus. Thus they hypothesised that high levels of cohesiveness may be dysfunctional, and that some disagreement among members of the top management team may be an internal strength related to superior performance (Papadakis, 1998). Langley (1995) also warned that when everyone in power instinctively shares the same opinion on an issue, the wise manager should be wary. Unanimity, she writes, is unlikely to lead to an objective evaluation of optio...
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This document was uploaded on 03/30/2014.

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