Paper abstract: What enables organisations to pursue multiple goals simultaneously? Scholars agree that structural separation, such that different work units specialise in tasks related to only one goal at a time, is integral to answering this question.
However, in some cases the same task affects multiple goals simultaneously such that specialising in tasks related to only one goal is impossible or undesirable. For such cases, I explored whether an organization structure that provides access to knowledge specialists each of whom focuses on only one goal can improve work unit performance. To do this, I conducted a field experiment across 25 locations of a social enterprise in India, where I randomly assigned different types of ‘knowledge specialists’ to 101 work units.
The key manipulation in this experiment was the job design of work-unit members where tasks related to generation and evaluation of ideas for performance improvement were divided based on the type of knowledge held by the worker.
The results of this field experiment along with extensive qualitative work after the experiment show that specialists can indeed be useful in increasing work unit performance but that their effectiveness partly depends on the nature of goals.
Dr Gupta is a Lecturer at King's Business School, King's College London.
About the speaker
Kamini is an Assistant Professor at King’s Business School, King’s College London and holds a PhD from London Business School. Her research explores how organizations simultaneously pursue multiple and conflicting goals, focusing especially on the domain at the intersection of business and society. Kamini’s research has been published or accepted for publication in journals such as Strategic Management Journal and Academy of Management Perspectives. Her research has also won multiple awards such as SMS Annual conference Best paper prize and AOM best paper award.
Kamini is also passionate about impact and she often works with organizations with the goal of using systematic research evidence to make social enterprises more effective, and corporations more responsible. Before joining academia, she founded a boutique consulting firm which provided social impact consulting services. She writes and speaks regularly in Indian and British press, conferences and practitioner events on issues related to business and society.