The study of bootlegging initiatives in service organization

Wan Salleh, Wan Shamsul Rezal (2021) The study of bootlegging initiatives in service organization. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis uses a mixed methods approach to examine three main ideas that focus on bootlegging initiatives that have been conducted in service organizations in Malaysia. Bootlegging initiatives have been portrayed as predevelopment activities to protect ideas from the “disapproving power in the organization” when faced management barriers. The term therefore refers to bottom-up self-initiatives that occur without official mandate but nonetheless with the aim of benefitting the organization. Bootlegging initiatives are also considered as a source of organizational change; whereby employees do things in a radical and ingenious way. Their implementation, however, is argued to disrupt management’s formal innovation framework and bootleggers can be posited as people who lead to negative outcomes and harm the organization.

The first essay explores the phenomenon of bootlegging by focusing on its antecedents, strategies and outcomes through a qualitative case study. We conducted interviews at different hierarchical levels: senior managers, unit managers and team members to accumulate seven case studies. The level of normative enforcement of the rules and strategies of the next level of management is a prime antecedent of bootlegging behaviour. The result also suggests that the impact on a bootlegger’s career development could be either positive or negative, with even successful initiatives potentially being detrimental to the bootlegger. This depends on the strategies that have been used to legitimize the initiatives internally and externally. Unauthorized and reworked initiatives are suggested to be types of bootlegging initiatives. To ensure these initiatives are fully accepted and adopted by management, internal and external consensus need to be established, and internal bricolage and external resources need to be deployed to foster the development of the initiatives, since initial resources can only be allocated for official projects. There is no guarantee that these strategies will help the bootlegger to a bright future career, however.

The first empirical chapter investigates whether bootlegging initiatives at a unit level are fostered by the unit managers, who were shown to engage with both constructive and deviant behaviour. We retrieved the data set from a survey study across three levels in a large organization: senior manager, unit manager and frontline employees involved in Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) in Malaysia. The results provided evidence that the unit’s bootlegging initiatives were positively significant with leaders’ constructive deviance, and the impact was greater when senior managers and employees also portrayed constructive deviant behaviour. We used the behavioural contagion theory along with the theory of social identity to prove whether the contagion of constructive deviant behaviour could be disseminated from leaders to their followers, with the results supporting that contention.

The next empirical chapter investigates “unauthorized initiatives” and “reworked initiatives” which can eventually be accepted and adopted by management , thus constituting a bootlegging success. Specifically, data were extracted from the managers of 230 units within a large organization in Malaysia. The findings of this chapter indicate that coalition strategies such as internal and external coalitions, and seeking external resources, ultimately reduced bootlegging success. When the internal bricolage strategy interacts with bootlegging initiatives, however, there is more change of bootlegging success, leading to a positive impact on a unit’s innovative success. The results also indicate that a bootlegger will experience adverse career effects, but the impact can be reduced when leaders show a transformational leadership style.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5381 Vocational guidance. Career development
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5549 Personnel management. Employment management
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0980 Types of education > LC1041 Vocational education (General)
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2021 09:49
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2021 09:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/100784

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