Rationalising Inefficiency: Staff Utilisation in Branches of a Large Canadian Bank

Mette Asmild, Peter Bogetoft, Jens Leth Hougaard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

112 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper we consider staffing decisions in branches of a large Canadian bank. The bank has well-developed staffing models and the branches work in a highly competitive environment. One would therefore expect limited ‘inefficiency’ in the sense of wasted resources and over-staffing. Using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) we nevertheless find considerable ‘inefficiency’ which raises the question whether this is best interpreted as waste or if the apparent inefficiency may serve other purposes. To investigate this, we invoke the theoretical framework of rational inefficiency (Bogetoft and Hougaard [8]).
A systematic pattern of slack consumption emerges, which suggests that the allocation of slack between staff groups is far from random. The slack pattern seems natural from the point of view of employee value and hierarchy and also considering employee flexibility and substitutability. For example we find relatively large over-staffing at the supervisor level which is natural given both their strong bargaining position derived from their role in the branch hierarchy and given the relative flexibility of supervisor resources.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOmega: The International Journal of Management Science
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)80-87
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this