Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Rojas I., Pertuze J., Williamson A., Gilbertsaad A., Alarcón L.F. (2021)

Standardization can be good for exploration: a social capital view of the productivity dilemma in operational teams

Revista : Production Planning & Control
Páginas : 1-16
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Process Management Programs (PMPs) rely heavily on the standardization of activities to improveorganizational efficiency and reliability. Standardization, however, can lead to rigidity and inertia,which may eventually inhibit exploration and innovation. While scholars have provided cognitive androutine-based arguments to cope with this dilemma, the fact that standardization is a social processthat requires collaboration between individuals has been overlooked. In this paper, we propose thatstandardization can improve a team’s social capital and thereby facilitate the activities that enableexploration. Specifically, we hypothesize that standardization relates positively to external communication,psychological safety, and the perception of support for innovation in operational teams. Thesethree social capital attributes mediate the relationship between standardization and exploration. Wetested this multilevel mediation model by analysing 431 members of 62 operational teams in a largemultinational mining company that had recently implemented a Process Management Program (LeanManagement). Our multilevel mediation results confirmed that standardisation promoted explorationby enhancing the teams’ social capital. For robustness we tested our model with a second survey of450 workers of different companies and obtained similar results. Therefore, we propose that the productivitydilemma can be balanced by improving operational teams’ social capital.