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Managing practices in turbulent environments

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Studies looking at the influence of institutions on operations management are clearly increasing, revealing a growing concern about the theme. Those studies depart from a common premise that institutions are “the rules of the game”, thus providing the stable ground field for firms to establish their strategies and management practices. However, in some countries, rather than establishing a stable business environment, institutions are a source of turbulence in that rules and policies change hazardously. In this study, we analyze the impact of institutional turbulence on the adoption and utilization of management practices, hypothesizing that, in such environments, the management of operations practices requires a distinctive set of competences, when compared to firms operating in stable environments. We use as illustration the sugarcane industry in Brazil, a traditional commodity producer. The outcomes are relevant because, worldwide, firms may be operating in VUCA – volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous – types of environment, in the coming years.

This talk is part of the Manufacturing Research Forum series.

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