Business Meetings and Leadership

A Quantitative Study about Levers to Enhance the Perceived Performance Trajectory
 
 
GRIN Verlag
  • 1. Auflage
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  • erschienen am 15. Januar 2018
  • |
  • 147 Seiten
 
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978-3-668-61150-4 (ISBN)
 
Master's Thesis from the year 2017 in the subject Business economics - Business Management, Corporate Governance, grade: 1.0, University of applied sciences Frankfurt a. M., language: English, abstract: Over the last years, the global market environment has rapidly evolved. Disruptive innovations have altered the technological landscape and turned existing business models and ways of operating upside down. In this highly dynamic environment, organizations and leadership face a multitude of different challenges, as new market players have emerged and fierce competition is on the rise. Today, it is crucial to embrace specific organizational skills and behaviors to stay relevant in the future. In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) business context, these are key to stay competitive and to lay solid foundations for future growth. To facilitate this, organizations have strived to make their processes as efficient and effective as possible. Remarkably, they have yet not unlocked the improvement potential that is associated with business meetings. As a matter of fact, business meetings have not only become an indisputable part of daily business operations all around the world, but also a subject that is often perceived as costly, unproductive and dissatisfying. The purpose of this work is to both advance the current research on business meetings at the intersection with leadership and provide actionable insights for businesses on how to enhance their organizational performance in practice. By using a quantitative study to analyze 301 responses gathered from an online survey and test associated hypotheses, insights about the current state of meeting usage and their implications on organizational performance, based on perceived meeting satisfaction and outcomes, were identified. Essentially, when trying to optimize their performance trajectory, organizations need to focus on a triad of meeting performance, consisting of meeting design, behavior and communication, and meeting technology. If the insights are taken seriously and the suggested solutions are implemented in practice holistically, organizations will have the opportunity to reap the benefits of enhanced performance while cutting costs by around USD 8.5 million annually.
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1 Introduction


 

1.1 Background


 

The global market environment has rapidly evolved over the last years and with it the status quo in which organizations must operate.

 

Today's business environment is characterized by the acronym VUCA[1], which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. This term is frequently used throughout organizations to paraphrase both opportunities as well as risks that businesses and individuals are facing.[2] Under these circumstances, it is more important than ever before to embrace the transformative power of change to one's own benefit, to stay competitive in a global marketplace and to lay solid foundations for future growth.[3] The understanding of VUCA is crucial for emerging leaders, managers, directors and executives as those will have a considerable impact on the lives of thousands of people all around the world and the power to shape the future. Thus, they will need to develop the right skills and versatility early in their careers to navigate successfully and sustainably through a rapidly changing world.[4] This preparedness for an uncertain future is vital in and a key success factor of leadership. Although Louis Pasteur meant it in the context of research experiments, he vividly expressed this importance in the following way:[5]

 

 ".in the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind."

 

But not everyone is equally aware of the future's unpredictability[6] and takes the appropriate actions to fully leverage its potential.

 

Disruptive innovations in information and communication technologies (ICTs), global connectivity, mobile devices, cloud technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT), are the cutting-edge infrastructure that connects everybody with everything.[7] Through this, it drives digital transformation on a global scale.

 

Consequences are manifold. For companies, it disrupts business models[8], industries, and regions. In private life, it catalyzes change in people's behavior, communication patterns, individual well-being, and lifestyle. Not only does technological change impact efficiency, but more importantly, how social systems like groups, organizations, and people interact with each other in different contexts.[9] This is due to the dual nature of technology by being both a product and a process at the same time.[10]

 

In business, the effects of change on certain tools, processes, and frameworks vary. More importantly, those with a material impact on organizations lag the actual speed of change.[11] The reason for this is a lack of attention and resource allocation by the company's leadership that would be appropriate. Especially given their criticality for the vitality of the business and the potential magnitude on the company's bottom line, its prospects, as well as its perceived performance trajectory.[12]

 

1.2 Importance for Meeting Science and Business Practice


 

Business meetings are ubiquitous and have become an indisputable part of organizations, of their organizational DNA and company culture.[13] Independent from industry sectors, they are embedded into daily routines, schedules and deeply ingrained into the minds of employees, their behaviors, and attitudes, affecting the way they work - consciously or unconsciously - on a global basis.[14] Especially an organization's leadership faces challenges due to the ever-changing and complex environment in which they must run the business successfully. Thus, they need to anticipate and cope with transformative change. This requires them to continuously adapt to market dynamics and to acquire new skills and embrace novel technologies to stay competitive.[15] To make decisions with substantial magnitude, vast quantities of information need to be processed virtually in real-time, which can no longer be handled by one single person alone.[16] Thus, leadership uses business meetings with the goal to bring order to the complex environment to make it manageable by allocating attention as well as resources towards strategic issues to sustain the company's adaptiveness.[17] Due to this, business meetings have become increasingly important and consume much of the available time of employees, leaders, managers, directors, and executives.[18] Evidence from numerous empirical studies since the 1960s confirms that both the number of meetings as well as their duration has increased over time, and also, that this development is expected to continue well into the future.[19]

 

Historically, meetings have been rarely in the focus of empirical research.[20] Today, a multitude of nonscientific or not explicitly scientific literature on meetings is available that primarily focuses on practice-oriented advice on how to make meetings more efficient and effective. Remarkably, literature that is based on credible scientific research and that is taking a scientific look at meetings as an object of inquiry, instead of using them as a container to study other phenomena, is still constrained.[21] Over the recent years, the scientific interest among researchers to contribute to and to enrich the available body of meeting knowledge has increased. Meeting science, the study of what happens before, during, and after workplace meetings, is, therefore, a relatively new area of research. By looking at the psychological, sociological and anthropological foundations, scholars strive to enhance the understanding of meetings, as well as influencing factors and resulting consequences, not only for individuals, groups or teams but also organizations and society.[22]

 

1.3 Need for Optimization


 

Many companies seek ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness to stay operationally as well as financially flexible in volatile and competitive markets.[23] Due to this, business environment and competition need to be analyzed, e.g. via Porter's 2001 five forces analysis, which he adapted to account for the effects of the internet on business.[24] This input is used to develop a sound strategy to sustain and enhance the competitive position, e.g. by having the right resources available to invest in R&D, by generating game-changing innovations, driving digitization to boost both internal productivity as well as aid the development of completely new business models to fulfill new and emerging market demands. But it is equally important to identify the hidden value or unrealized potential that lies inside the organization and to develop concepts to unlock and utilize these resources for reaching the strategic goals of the enterprise, to ultimately benefit all stakeholders[25] via sustainable value-creation. Companies have optimized their organizational structure, made internal as well as external processes as efficient and effective as possible and strategically focused on their core competencies and outsourced non-core activities.[26] Despite extensive investments to drive change and continued emphasis on optimization, there is still potential that has not yet been realized, especially in the context of business meetings.

 

1.4 Structure of the Work


 

The work in hand is divided into six main chapters and segmented further into several sub-chapters. This aims to ensure comprehensibility and readability aligned to the chain of reasoning.

 

Chapter 1 begins with an outline of the current business environment and justifies the importance of studying business meetings for both meeting science and business practice. The need for continued organizational optimization is then briefly discussed before pointing out the overall structure of the work.

 

In the second chapter, a comprehensive view of meeting definitions and the meeting process is provided. Further, pertinent classification methods based on meeting type or purpose are discussed including insights into the resource consumption of meetings. In addition, available leadership definitions and leadership styles are mentioned, while emphasizing effective leadership skills. Lastly, the roles and responsibilities matrix for business meetings is briefly clarified.

 

Chapter 3 illustrates the purpose of the study and states the research questions including associated hypotheses. This is followed by the explanation of the research design as well as the target group, sample, instruments, and procedures. It concludes with a detailed discussion of the chosen quantitative data analysis approach.

 

The fourth chapter 4 outlines the results of both data analysis and hypothesis testing. First by providing a general overview and then breaking it down into the different areas such as meeting design characteristics, behavior and communication, meeting technology and the roles and...

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