Governing corporate culture (manual for supervisory boards)

Slovenian Sovereign Holding, d. d. (SSH) has published the Guide for Supervisory Boards of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) entitled “Governing Corporate Culture”.  A direct goal of this paper is to equip Supervisory Boards with key guidelines, questions and tools to be considered, asked, and used when exercising their duties in terms of governing corporate culture. An indirect goal of this Guide is also to empower companies to operate effectively and efficiently by giving culture an appropriate focus within corporate governance practices.

The Guide was developed in cooperation with experts from the Centre of Business Excellence of the Faculty of Economics, Prof. Dr. Miha Škerlavaj and Luka Eržen, external experts, and SSH’s employees. The content of the Guide was also supported by the Managers’ Association of Slovenia and the Slovenian Directors’ Association.

Sound corporate culture governance is important for a healthy culture and more successful business performance and should therefore be a priority topic for the Supervisory Boards of companies. We also claim that “corporate culture can best contribute to business performance if it is consistent with the context, strategic goals, leadership, structure, actual treatment of people at work, and other determinants of business performance”.

Welcome to read the English translation of the manual Governing Corporate culture (originally published in Slovenian language).

Kaj pa če kultura ne poje strategije za zajtrk?

… ampak z njo sedi pri isti mizi za zajtrk, kosilo, večerjo in še poobedek? To je bilo vprašanje na katerega sem ponudil nekaj kosti za glodanje zbranim marketingašem na 26. Slovenski marketinški konferenci. Odgovor: Pri isti mizi sedijo še vodenje, ravnanje z ljudmi pri delu, organizacijska struktura, in še kaj bi se našlo, kar vpliva na uspešnost organizacij. Vsaj tako kaže desetine empiričnih raziskav v zadnjih nekaj desetletjih. Še kako pa je res, da je c-situacija razkrila moč in nemoč organizacijskih kultur. Vsem nam skupaj pa omogočila izjemno priložnost zastaviti kulture na (še bolj) zdravih temeljih. Pogovarjali smo torej se o renesansi organizacijske kulture, zlasti z vidika njenega merjenja in oblikovanja. Za občutek nekaj utrinkov s konference.

Gravitacija #16 – podcast o inovacijski kulturi in psihologiji inovativnosti

V veselje mi je bilo sodelovati kot gost v 16. epizodi Gravitacije, serije podcastov o inovativnosti. Na gospodarski zbornici Slovenije ga gostita dr. Aleš Ugovšek in Miha Goršin. Pogovarjali pa smo se o marsičem. tudi o tem, kaj se lahko organizacije naučijo od Marvela, kakšna je vloga kreativnosti pri inoviranju, kateri so ključni elementi in vodstvene kompetence, ki bistveno pripomorejo k temu, da lahko organizacija ideje z visokim potencialom razvije v uspešne inovacije, kako pomembna je psihološka varnost za inoviranje in rast podjetja ter kakšne oblike vodenja so primerne za uspešno udejanjanje prebojnih idej. Vabljeni k poslušanju.

Avtor fotografije: Tadej Kreft.

Talking Tom has a case study (Outfit7)

In less than a decade, Talking Tom and friends have become a household name around the world with number of downloads exceeding the global population. A fascinating story of how Outfit7, the company behind the scenes of Talking Tom has been started up, scaled up, how founders exited and how it is developing recently as one of rare entrepreneurial unicorns under the new ownership. Many thanks to my co-authors Spencer Harrison (INSEAD) and Žiga Vavpotič (Outfit7 member of the board), all the contributing interviewees including Iza Login (the founder of Outfit7), Xinyu Qian (CEO), all the participating leaders and employees from Outfit7 as well as dedicated staff from the INSEAD to get the story out in the open. Three-part case study is now available from the INSEAD case publishing, the Case centre and now also from the Harvard business school publishing. Our greatest hope is that it will spark fruitful discussions and learning in the educational institutions around the world.

Outfit7 is a digital entertainment firm that develops and publishes animated video games for mobile phones, tablets and desktops. It’s flagship product is a series of mobile apps called “Talking Tom and Friends”, with close to 8 billion downloads globally. Outfit7 is one of only 46 European unicorns, i.e., privately held companies valued above $1 billion, topping the global ranks of most downloaded mobile games. In 2017, according to App Annie, a leading app-ranking platform, Outfit7 was the sixth most downloaded mobile publisher, and My Talking Tom was the second most downloaded mobile game globally, putting it in the company of tech giants like Facebook, Google, Tencent and Alibaba. Part A describes the growth stage from 2009 to 2014, along with the story of founders Samo and Iza Login. The focus is on setting up the startup and developing a unique organizational culture, leaving the hiring decision (fit or misfit) to students. In Part B, from 2014 to 2017, the start-up moves into scale-up phase after the founders’ exit/appointment of a new management team, the focus is on entrepreneurial leadership. In Part C, as tensions emerge from scaling up a unicorn, students must decide what to keep and what to change (how to balance continuity and renewal) as expectations for growth soar.

Pedagogical Objectives:
To facilitate discussion of entrepreneurship, leadership, human resource management, change through growth, and organizational culture.

Start-Up, Scale-Up, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Human Resource Management, Organizational Culture, Unicorn, Founders’ Exit, Change Management, Family Entertainment, Growth, Learning from Failure, Organizational Values, Teamwork

JEEMS publication: Organizational learning culture in seven countries

I’d like to announce the following publication: Miha Škerlavaj, Chunke Su, Meikuan Huang: The moderating effects of national culture on the development of organizational learning culture: A multilevel study across seven countries, JEEMS, 18(1): 97-134. Below is the abstract:

This study examines the moderating effects of national culture dimensions (Hofstede 1980) on three key elements in the development of organisational learning culture: information acquisition, information interpretation and behavioral and cognitive changes. Data were collected from 1333 companies in three CEE countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia) and other regions. The results showed that four national cultural dimensions (power distance, individualism, masculinity, and uncertainty avoidance) had no significant moderating effects on the relationship between information acquisition and information interpretation. However, the relationship between information interpretation and behavioral and cognitive changes was positively moderated by power distance, and negatively moderated by individualism, masculinity and uncertainty avoidance.

EJIM publication on organizational learning culture in Macedonian companies

Together with our Macedonian colleagues, we published ŠKERLAVAJ, Miha, ČERNE, Matej, KEKENOVSKI, Ljubomir, TEVDOVSKI, Dragan, TRPKOVA, Marija (2011). The organisational learning culture and organisational performance in Macedonian companies. European journal of international management, 5(6): 574-601.

The purpose of the paper is to construct, present and test a model that describes the effect of organisational learning culture on organisational
performance improvement. To this end, we use data of 202 Macedonian companies and empirically test the model via structural equation modelling.
We found that organisational learning culture has a direct and relatively strong  impact on non-financial performance from the employee, customer and
supplier perspective. A direct but relatively smaller effect can be noticed on the financial performance. Managers need to be aware that such norms and values
that ascribe high importance to information acquisition, distribution and interpretation need to be developed in order to achieve higher levels of
organisational performance. The paper contributes to the generalisation of a research model previously tested in more-developed economies based on the
data gathered in Macedonia, a developing country in transition.

The study builds upon our previous awarded and cited paper in International Journal of Production Economics (2007) and aims to generalize by controlling for a different setting of national culture as well as stage of economic development.

Top 10 cited 2007-2010!

I am both proud and happy to announce that the paper Škerlavaj, M., Štemberger, M.I., Škrinjar, R., & Dimovski, V. (2007): Organizational learning culture—the missing link between business process change and organizational performance, International Journal of Production Economics, 106(2):346-367 was awarded as Top 10 most cited papers in the journal between year 2007 and 2010! Another great confirmation and inducement for future work.

Academy of Management Meeting Montreal 2010

Counting the days until the next big event: Academy of Management Meeting 2010 in Montreal. During August 6th-10th I’ll be attending the biggest event in management as well as presenting the paper Škerlavaj, M., Su, C. & Huang, M.: Effects of National Culture in Organizational Learning Culture: A Multilevel Study in 7 Countries. Below is the abstract:

The goal of this study is to theorize and empirically test a multilevel model of organizational learning culture in a context of four national cultural dimensions: power distance, individualism, masculinity, and uncertainty avoidance. Based on established conceptual foundations of organizational learning culture (OLC), defined as a set of organizational norms and values that support systematic, in-depth approaches aimed at achieving higher-level organizational learning, this study seeks to examine the cross-level interactions between national culture dimensions and two key organizational learning processes: the impact of information acquisition on information interpretation, and behavioral and cognitive changes as a result of information interpretation. Data were collected from 1333 companies in 7 countries with different national cultures, and analyzed by hierarchical linear modeling techniques. The results showed that while national cultural dimensions had no significant influence on the relationship between information acquisition and information interpretation at the organizational level, each of the four cultural dimensions moderated the effects of information interpretation on organizational behavioral and cognitive changes in different directions. This study contributes to current literature by demonstrating the theoretical and empirical viability in using a multilevel approach to understand how organizational learning culture develops in the context of national cultural dimensions.

9th Trimo Research Awards

It is a wonderful thing to be successfu by oneself. And it is even better to help others to achieve their own personal success. Last year I’ve had a privilige of being mentor to two bachelor and two master theses that were yesterday awarded prestigious Trimo research awards: (1) Tomaž Bartolj for his work on maturity to compete on business analytics, (2) Ula Mejaš on transformational leadership, (3) Lara Madotto on emotional intelligence and employee satisfaction, and (4) Jure Pompe on innovative organizational culture. Congratulations to them all!

Top 10 in SSRN!

Very soon after its’ publication (May 12 2010), our paper “Organizational Learning Culture, Innovative Culture and Innovations in South Korean Firms”, was listed on Social Science Research Network’s (SSRN)  Top Ten download list in the category ERN: Culture & Leadership.  The abstract and the paper is available here. In terms of the impact of our research, this seems quite promissing achievement.