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AIDEA Conference 2019

Tracks

Track 7 - Journal of Management and Governance (Journal of Management and Governance)

Managers: Lino Cinquini (l.cinquini@santannapisa.it)

Read Track abstractEvaluation, performance and governance in the digital age

Chair
Lino Cinquini (JMG Editor-in-Chief)

Invited speakers
Thomas Bolander (Technical University of Denmark-DTU)
Hanne Nørreklit (Aarhus University)

Repeatedly it is argued that we live in an era of digitalization that is changing human practices including the practice of governance, evaluation and performance management of organizations.
The comprehensive digitalization of the language makes it important for research to explore issues concerning the de-contextualization from specific organizational activities and conditions in the production and use of information for decision-making and performance management.
New issues arise from the pervasive and uncritical use of digital approach in organizations, especially the risk of de-contextualization of data from the specific factual situation and alternative possibilities for actions, which can have important dysfunctional consequences for the individual and organizational performance. When the specific context is neglected in organizational decision-making and performance management, a culture might emerge where “truth” is centralized and the value of truth and trustworthy performance measurement collapse.
In this perspective artificial “intelligence” and Big Data might be indications of that decision-making would be un-contextualized, and that people and local setting may become irrelevant. Thus, if everything is digitalized what are the important consequences for human actors and what are (should be) their roles? How can we develop fair and valid performance management instruments for making managers and employees accountable?
These and other related themes will be developed in the JMG Symposium by the Speakers and in the papers to be presented in the JMG Track 7 of AIDEA2019 conference. Papers (in English) in Track 7 are welcome on such topics:
• the consequences for human actors and their roles in organizations if everything is digitalized
• the impacts of digitalization on corporate governance
• the role of artificial intelligence in corporate governance
• cybersecurity and corporate governance
• issues about artificial intelligence and Big Data in decision-making
• how artificial intelligence will redefine management
• interaction of human actors with the post-truth culture, where the value of truth and trustworthy performance measurement collapse
The Journal of Management and Governance will welcome submissions on these topics and a number of papers presented in Track 7 will be selected for a Fast-Track process of publication*.
*The JMG Fast-Track (JMG-FT) review process of publication gives the opportunity of a paper review process quicker than that of an ordinary submission. The selected paper is immediately inserted in the review process without undergoing the first desk-rejection assessment phase. This formula is applicable to a maximum of 3 papers presented at the workshop/conference/track in which the JMG-FT is accorded. The formula does not guarantee the publication of the submitted paper, which must positively pass the peer-review process.

Friday 13th September 2019
  Aula 08 08.45-10.15

 

PAPERS

Synchronistic events and management decisions. A conceptual framework toward an Affect-Cognitive Theory
Matteo Cristofaro
AbstractDespite the increasing trust on the digitalization of organizational activities, here it is strongly assumed that management decision making is still a matter of human being and his biased perceptions. To support this claim, it is considered and theoretically addressed the habitual phenomena of perceiving meaningful coincidences in the daily life and their effect on management decisions. Coincidences are pivotal in scientific discoveries and enterprises’ foundations. However, how their perception affects management decisions has been overlooked by management studies. To fill this gap, a conceptual framework based on Jung’s synchronicity principle and management cognitive literature has been built. In particular, it shows that affective states felt during the occurrence of meaningful coincidences – also called synchronistic events –activate a series of cognitive errors that drive the assignment of a symbolic content to the coincidences, resulting in different risk-oriented management decisions. The proposed theorization advances the behavioral strategy field, enhancing the understanding of the cognitive aspects surrounding management decisions.

Management control system and calculative cultures: an interpretive framework
Federica De Santis, Claudia Presti
AbstractPurpose: this paper aims at developing a framework that explicates how environmental, organizational, and technological factors can facilitate or hinder the use of Data Analytics (DA) techniques, thus determining different configurations of a company’s data-driven Management Control System (MCS) Methodology: by means of a structured literature review the explicative framework has been developed. The framework can then constitute the basis to conduct in-depth case studies or field studies in order to analyse such different configurations “in practice”. Motivation: Management control can be defined as “the process by which managers assure that resources are obtained and used effectively and efficiently in the accomplishment of the organization’s goals” (Anthony, 1965).

Evaluation, performance and strategy improvement in the digital age
Angelo Riva
AbstractObjectives. This paper explores innovation and quality strategy by study the case of General Electric in the contest of digitalization. Methodology. A case study based on secondary data of a major international company. Findings. The paper provides a detailed description on how to integrate quality and innovation strategy. There are identified and analyzed the critical success factors in innovation strategy. Research limitations. The study underlines the role of a set of methodologies for improving of process based on a specific case. Practical implication. The case permits to discover some positive methodologies and strategy for improving operational efficiency by eliminating non-value-added activities throughout all business areas. Originality of the study. The paper offers a unique description of a success strategy of implementation of critical success factors in quality and innovation strategy in General Electric Key words: innovation; lean management; quality; work out; change acceleration process, digital strategy

Digit accounting as language game for managing organizational spaces
Daniela Ruggeri, Antonio Leotta, Carmela Rizza
AbstractThe growth of an organization is accompanied with an increase in the articulation of its organizational space. Accounting is then adopted as a technique for control of the various organizational areas. At the same time, accounting shapes the organizational space (Carmona et al., 2002). The technical and social specificities that characterize each organizational space as a specific community have to interact with the whole organization as a unitary space for value creation. The research focuses on how the digitalization of accounting information systems (AIS) impacts on organizational spaces. We refer to the concept of language game conceptualized by Wittgenstein (1953) to study how digit AIS shapes the relation between local and global organizational spaces. Since any language game refers to a specific context, digit accounting language game needs to be related to a specific organizational space. At the same time, the use of organizational space as a means of accounting control by the whole organization needs the use of digit accounting as a language game with respect to the whole organizational context. The local-specific accounting language games need to be composed into the accounting language game of the whole organization. The related question is: how does digit AIS favour the composition between accounting language games arising from different organizational spaces? Given the “how” question, an interpretive case study was conducted in order to collect field evidence based on an in deep investigation. We examined the case of the control of new product development processes in a multidivisional and multinational company operating in the semiconductor industry. It was a longitudinal case study reporting the story of a digit AIS innovation aimed to align the control procedures between the development and the production processes. The case findings are consistent with the pragmatist view that the production of meanings occurs in multiple local practices through criteria and exemplary references. For an organization to function, it needs to make its local meanings functionally coherent.

Does artificial intelligence perform managerial control practices in complex settings?
Filippo Zanin, Eugenio Comuzzi, Giulio Corazza
AbstractInformation Technology (IT) has displayed and continues to display an important role in performing management control practices. Since the introduction of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in the 1990’s many firms started to shape their managerial control systems with IT technologies for achieving a competitive advantage (Cao, et al., 2013). The amount of data and information required has steadily grown over time forcing firms to adopt continuously innovative tools and computer techniques. In this context, with the quick development of computer intelligence, the concept of Business Intelligence and Analytics (BI&A) has been implicated in a wide range of management accounting and control practices (Chen, et al., 2012). BI&A is defined as a systematic process, methodology, technology, analytical tool and technique that use computer-supported systems to collect and analyze information for effective business activities and better decision-making at middle and higher management levels (Boz?ic?, Dimovki, 2019). Consensus in BI&A was given by the huge potential for performance management purposes. It is rooted in managerial control literature because the interlacing between these computer-technologies and the managerial control practices is expected to increase the ability to elaborate more relevant knowledge for decision-makers. Recent technological advancement has shifted further the attention to an advanced form of Business Analytics, the Artificial Intelligence (AI). This term is referred to the computer simulation processes of human thinking (Li, Zheng, 2018). Computers can learn and perform tasks which were previously considered to require human intelligence. The use of AI in performing managerial control activities (especially reporting, budgeting and planning) allows to increase computational capacity (by reducing the processing times and ensuring greater reliability on the input-output relationship) and to improve decision-making processes. Indeed, AI and strategic objectives are interdependent in the sense that objectives are influenced by the knowledge of potential accountings. Moreover, objectives may be continuously reformulated in the light of new information and revised calculations. AI thus lends itself to multiple decision-making uses. Through such uses, AI can potentially make significant contributions to the ways in which strategic-decision making processes take shape and middle and higher managers implement and coordinate intentional action. Current studies about AI don’t allow to deeper analyze the role of AI in decision making because they left relatively unexplored the different roles that AI applications play in performing managerial control practices. The emphasis on AI as a social and not equally computer-technology solution lefts an important gap in our understanding of the interconnections between AI and decision-making practices. How exactly, for example, are managers to make the AI the socio-technical device to change and adapt control practices in-use, facilitate interaction and sense-making among different organizational levels, and support the exploration of radically new accounting and control practices? The paper is structured in two main sections. The first presents a literature review about the evolution of Information and Communication Technologies in managerial control field by integrating theory and practice perspectives. Practice perspective sheds light on the experiences reported by some consulting companies, such as Bain & Company, KPMG, and McKinsey and, the operating solutions offered by the leading software developers, such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Sap. The second tries to fill the AI literature gap through the analysis of a longitudinal field study of AI design and implementation in a large manufacturing Italian company. We draw on specific managerial control activities in order to bring out the performative effects of AI on managerial control actions and decisions. Drawing on discussions with managers and software developers, and direct observations drawn from across the functional hierarchy within the organizational unit devoted to perform accounting and management control activities, we elaborate the ways in which the middle managers of a business product line sought to use AI to achieve, if not grand strategic missions, at least specific subsets of operational objectives, such as the simplification of control procedures, the interaction among people and the constitution of more specialized cognitive and decision-making processes.

Improving organizational performance through Big Data analytics and information management capability
Lamberto Zollo, Cristina Florio, Riccardo Rialti, Cristiano Ciappei
AbstractThe Big Data phenomenon has gained increasing attention in the digital age, thus representing a strategic opportunity for managerial decision-making and organizational performance. Scholars are interpreting Big Data Analytics (BDA) as one of the most innovative technologies able to collect and analyze relevant information resources from companies’ stakeholders and markets. As a result, the use of BDA in strategic planning and decision-making is becoming crucial for managers to address rapidly changing environments and gain sustainable competitive advantage. Despite this growing attention, the literature is still limited in exploring the underlying mechanisms between the implementation of BDA and organizations’ performance. Moreover, the individual and organizational dimensions involved in such value creation processes have been largely neglected. To address these gaps, the present study builds on the dynamic capabilities view (DCV) to propose a conceptual model that aims to unpack the BDA-performance linkage. First, Big Data capabilities – the micro dimension – and Big Data organizational diffusion process – the meso dimension – are hypothesized as antecedents of organizational performance. Next, information management capability is hypothesized as the mediating variable of such a relationship. The model is empirically tested on a sample of 311 respondents – data analysts, data scientists, data managers, and chief data officers – working in Italian Big Data organizations. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and bootstrapped mediation analysis are used to validate the model and test the hypotheses. The results show the important role of BDA in enhancing organizations’ performance. Interestingly, information management capability resulted as a significant mediating variable of the BDA-performance relationship. Theoretical and practical implications to Big Data academics and practitioners are provided, along with suggestions for future research.