A Prediction Contest: The Sensing of Frontline Employees Against Executive Expectations

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    Abstract

    The literature suggests that important strategic initiatives can derive from employees within the organization as they respond to needs and opportunities observed in daily operations. This seems to indicate that employees have a good sense of the firm’s operational capabilities observed through direct interactions with colleagues, customers and partners. Executives make their own judgments about the corporate capabilities from discussions with various managers, other executives and industry specialists. But the information gathered by executives may be qualitatively different from the conditions sensed by the employees. So, we arranged a contest between operational capabilities assessed by employees and executives and the relationship to subsequent firm performance. Based on more than 400 individual data points collected from two medium-sized organizations over a period of eighteen months, advanced distributed lag time-series analyses show that the sensing of front-line employees (surprisingly) is a better medium-term predictor of organizational performance than executive judgments. These results have implications for the way organizations set up their management information and communication structure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    PublisherDjøf Forlag
    Number of pages50
    ISBN (Electronic)9788791815782
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012
    SeriesSMG Working Paper
    Number2

    Keywords

    • Dynamic Capabilities
    • Operational Capabilities
    • Performance Prediction
    • Strategic Response Capabilities

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