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Input Units

Workplace change: This unit of theory is defined as the extent and type of organisational change and technological innovations that an organisation has gone through in the last two years. Technological innovation relates to changes in work processes, technology, and introduction of new products, services, and processes (Groot, 1997; Rogers, 1999). Organisational change relates to changes in the structure of jobs and includes organisational changes such as introduction of team processes and other new management practices such as learning orientation and TQM (Hayton et al., 1996; Ridoutt et al., 2002; Smith et al., 2002). As these organisation changes are on a continuum, they will be analysed separately. To this end, three main types of organisation change, as represented with the adoption of new management practices are considered, as these are common to, and are an integral part of, the Indian IT sector. These are total quality management, learning orientation, and team working. All three have been established in the extant literature as critical orientations and approaches for fostering innovation outcomes in the context of the Indian IT industry (Malik, 2013a).

Total quality management: TQM unit is defined as the presence of a quality management philosophy that focuses on customer satisfaction, continuous improvement, and treating the organisation as a total system (Dean & Snell, 1991). The presence of a TQM philosophy in an organisation not only requires data collection and analysis skills, but it also requires those involved in the programme to develop behavioural skills in the areas of communication and teamwork, and specifically customer service skills for those in service industries (Smith & Hayton, 1999). In a similar vein, Osterman (1995) and Smith et al. (2002) suggest that TQM has been the catalyst for firms to move away from technical training to behavioural training. Commitment to quality has increased significantly in Indian enterprises also, especially in the IT sector of India, where a number of organisations have adopted various quality accreditation standards such as ISO 9000, SEI-CMM (Software Engineering Institute’s Capability Maturity Model), PCMM (People Capability Maturity Model), Six Sigma certification, etc., and most of these standards require support of an organisation’s human resources management and training and development practices (NASSCOM, 2005). Studies on the Indian IT industry confirm that quality management systems develop a firms learning and market orientations, which are critical orientations for supporting innovative activities in these firms (Malik et al., 2012; Malik & Blumenfeld, 2012; Pereira & Malik, 2015)

Learning orientation: This unit of theory is defined in terms of three set of organisational values that are associated with an organisation’s tendency to learn. These values are: commitment to learning, open-mindedness, and developing a shared vision to influence a firm’s ability to create and use knowledge (Sinkula, Baker, & Noordeweir, 1997). Learning orientation influences the degree to which an organisation is satisfied with its theory in use and, hence, the degree to which proactive learning occurs as well as the degree to which a firm engages in open-mindedness and thus innovation (Senge, 1990; Sinkula et al., 1997). Malik et al. (2012) noted the presence of learning orientation as a critical in shaping training provision in the Indian BPO sector.

Team working: This unit of theory is defined as the extent to which teams exercise autonomy in decision-making. One of the key elements that underwrite an approach to TQM or a learning organisation orientation is the emphasis on teamwork. Banker, Field, Schroeder, and Sinha (1996) identified six variants of modern team working. Team autonomy can be viewed as a continuum from low to high team autonomy. These variants include: traditional workgroups, quality circles, high- performance work teams, semi-autonomous workgroups, self-managing work teams, and self-designing teams. Quality-based team designs were noted to create the needs for soft skills and sharing of existing knowledge among technical and cross-functional teams in the Indian IT industry (Malik et al., 2012; Pereira & Malik, 2015).

Market orientation: This unit of theory is defined as an organisation’s ability to sense, disseminate, and respond to market turbulence and customers’ specifications or needs for various products, services, or processes (Kohli, Jaworski, & Kumar, 1993). Kohli et al. (1993) developed a measure for market orientation MARKOR, and defined market orientation as ‘the organizationwide generation of market intelligence pertaining to current and future needs of customers, dissemination of information horizontally and vertically within the organization, and the organizationwide action or responsiveness to market intelligence’ (p. 467). Most firms in the Indian IT industry adopt a market-driven approach rather than a market-driving approach, a trend that has led to new ways of thinking and looking at alternate forms of learning and knowledge (Malik & Blumenfeld, 2012; Malik et al., 2012; Malik, 2013a).

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