R. Lyn Purdy
Associate Professor, Deans' Office, Organizational Behaviour
Associate Dean, Programs
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Richard Ivey Building 2372
- Impact of Supplier Evaluation
- Teams and Quality Programs
- JIT and Organizational Change
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Lyn Purdy is an associate professor of Organizational Behaviour at Ivey Business School. Prior to joining Ivey, she was an associate professor at the Centre for Administrative and Information Studies at Western University. She earned at BASc in Chemical Engineering, and an MASc and PhD in Management Sciences from the University of Waterloo.
Purdy's research interests include organizational impacts of new technologies and techniques, performance evaluation of supplier organizations, quality management programs and participation of employees, and decision making and the impact of negative information. She has authored or co-authored several articles which have appeared in such publications as the International Journal of Operations and Production Management, the Journal of Management Systems, the Sloan Management Review, Journal of Operations Management and Behaviour and Information Technology.
- Organizational Behaviour
- Executive Education
- BASc, Chem Eng - Waterloo
- MASc, Mgmt Sc - Waterloo
- PhD, Waterloo
Recent Refereed Articles
Rogers, K. W.; Purdy, R. L.; Safayeni, F.; Duimering, P. R., 2007, "A Supplier Development Program: Rational Process or Image Construction?", Journal of Operations Management, March 25(2): 556 - 572. Abstract: Drawing on arguments from institutional theory, we examine the implementation and use of a supplier development program by a major North American automotive manufacturer. While all suppliers adopted the program as an apparent response to coercive institutional pressures from their customer, the study focuses on the effects of such pressures on internal information processing and the behavior of the actors involved. The study therefore addresses a significant gap in the institutional theory literature concerning the question of how managers reconcile potential conflicts between externally imposed institutional demands and internal operational efficiency constraints. Specifically, the supplier development process is conceptualized using two different approaches: one based on assumptions of rational efficiency, the other based on assumptions of institutional image construction. Five propositions were tested using quantitative data from the customer and interview data from the suppliers. Overall, the two propositions based on image construction were supported while only one proposition of the three for the rational decision making approach was partially supported. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding how a firm's institutional context influences the implementation and use of operation management strategies.
Scala, J.; Purdy, R. L.; Safayeni, F., 2006, "Application of Cybernetics to Manufacturing Flexibility: A Systems Perspective", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, December 17(1/2): 22 - 41. Abstract: Flexibility continues to be key to the competitiveness of manufacturing firms. However, both in academia and industry, there still exists a lack of understanding regarding the fundamental nature of flexibility. This lack of understanding has often led to overly optimistic expectations regarding the direct transformation of technological flexibility into manufacturing flexibility. A theoretical model of the firm, based on cybernetics, is proposed in this paper. The model relates flexibility to the cybernetic concept of variety and examines a dynamic system in terms of its task structure. The model proves useful both in dispelling some of the misconceptions regarding flexibility, and in providing practical insights into issues of designing flexible manufacturing organizations.
Scala, J.; Purdy, R. L.; Safayeni, F., 2006, "Application of cybernetics to manufacturing flexibility: A systems perspective", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, January 17(1): 22 - 41. Abstract: Purpose - Flexibility continues to be key to the competitiveness of manufacturing firms. However, both in academia and industry, there still exists a lack of understanding regarding the fundamental nature of flexibility. This lack of understanding has often led to overly optimistic expectations regarding the direct transformation of technological flexibility into manufacturing flexibility. A theoretical model of the firm, based on cybernetics, is proposed in this paper. Design/methodology/approach - The model relates flexibility to the cybernetic concept of variety and examines a dynamic system in terms of its task structure. Findings - The model proves useful both in dispelling some of the misconceptions regarding flexibility, and in providing practical insights into issues of designing flexible manufacturing organizations. Practical implications - The paper presents a means by which variety can be measured. Originality/value - The conceptual model clarifies certain aspects of system flexibility. The first implication is that the flexibility required at a node is not fixed, but dependent on its connection with other nodes. The degree to which the interconnected nodes are effective regulators determines the variety impinging upon the target node. The second implication is that variety reduction is often a preferred solution over increased variety handling. The third implication is that the seemingly peculiar finding that relatively inflexible nodes in combination can be quite flexible, is easily explained using this theoretical model of the firm. System flexibility depends more on each node possessing requisite variety than on each possessing an enormous number of responses. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Link(s) to publication:
Purdy, R. L.; Safayeni, F., 2000, "Strategies for Supplier Evaluation: A Framework For Potential Advantages and Limitations", IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, January 47(4): 435 - 443. Abstract: Despite the increase in use of supplier evaluation, there is still very limited examination of the supplier evaluation process. Most of the discussion that is in the literature treats information about suppliers as factual, technical information without regard for the social and organizational biases involved in generating this information. A framework for supplier evaluation is developed based on whether the supplier evaluation focuses on information from product- or process-based domains and whether the information acquisition mode used is direct or indirect. A critical examination of these four approaches is presented. The relationship between evaluation approach and organizational realities are discussed. The need for an integrated mechanism within organizations to deal with supplier information is identified.
Harris, C. R.; Purdy, R. L., 1998, "The Role of Participative Management in the Implementation of Total Quality Management Programs", International Journal of Technology Management, January 16(4-6): 466 - 478. Abstract: Proponents of Total Quality Management (TQM) programs are in agreement about the importance of participative management techniques for successful implementation of TQM. In this paper a framework for analyzing participative management is presented and used to examine 20 case studies of TQM, drawn from the academic literature. The analysis indicated that participative management techniques have a very limited role in TQM implementation. In most of the organizations studied, employees only participate in the ongoing maintenance of a TQM program, usually through team membership. Even this restricted use of participative management results in improved productivity as measured by objective standards in these firms.
Purdy, R. L.; Astad, U.; Safayeni, F., 1994, "Perceived Effectiveness of the Automotive Supplier Evaluation Process", International Journal of Operations and Production Management, December 14(6): 91 - 103. Abstract: Nineteen automotive supply organizations were interviewed regarding their perceptions of the effectiveness of a North American automotive certification program. The major findings were that: 1. Suppliers viewed preparing for the evaluation as the most important aspects of the process. 2. The evaluators detected only a small percentage of the suppliers' significant business and manufacturing problems. 3. Suppliers perceived an overemphasis on procedures and documentation on the part of the evaluators. 4. Suppliers felt that the evaluation did not accurately reflect their effectiveness. It was concluded that the supplier evaluation program reflected the management style of the large bureaucratic customer organization, which was not necessarily appropriate for the size and nature of the supplier's business. Further, good performance on the evaluation did not directly correspond with further business contracts.
Duimering, P. R.; Safayeni, F.; Purdy, R. L., 1993, "Integrated Manufacturing: Redesign the Organization before Implementing Flexible Technology", MIT Sloan Management Review, December 34(4): 47 - 56. Abstract: It is argued that in order to take best advantage of computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) and just in time (JIT) techniques and technologies, it is necessary to examine these systems within the organizational context. Such an examination not only can improve the design of such systems, it may also increase the likelihood of successful implementation. CIM implies many assumptions about the capabilities of information and flexible manufacturing technology as well as the outcomes of its usage. It may be more productive to redesign the organizational structure before implementing available technology than to hope the technology will bring about manufacturing effectiveness. JIT emphasizes variability reduction and CIM emphasizes variability handling, suggesting that manufacturers can use flexible technology to handle an unmanageable solution.
Duimering, P. R.; Safayeni, F.; Purdy, R. L., 1993, "Future Factories and Today's Organizations", , January 16(C): 3 - 12. Abstract: This paper will draw from our experience during the past five years with organizations which are trying to improve their manufacturing activities using a variety of techniques and technologies. The paper will raise issues about how we are currently thinking about manufacturing systems, the kinds of solutions we consider as potentially feasible, and the difficulties organizations encounter implementing these solutions. Specifically, the paper will examine the Just-in-Time (JIT) and Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) approaches as integrated manufacturing systems, and consider the impact of these systems on the manufacturing organizations in which they are implemented. A conceptual framework of the JIT system, developed through past research, will be utilized along with other organizational theory to point out shortcomings in some of the implicit assumptions underlying the CIM approach, and to examine how truly integrated manufacturing systems can be designed, regardless of the techniques or technologies chosen. The argument will be advanced that the only way for future factories to be effective is by 1) considering manufacturing activities in the context of the overall organizational system, 2) redesigning organizations to accommodate manufacturing activities, and 3) rethinking the ways advanced manufacturing technologies can be utilized, not only in terms of their theoretical potential, but also in terms of the concrete realities of organizations. © 1993, Elsevier B.V.
Link(s) to publication:
Safayeni, F.; Yu, A.; Purdy, R. L.; Lee, E., 1992, "Assessing the Potential of E-mail for Engineers: A Case Study", Journal of Management in Engineering, October 8: 346 - 361. Abstract: Thirty-five engineers participated in a study on the potential impact of electronic mail on their work situation. The methodology was designed to collect information from the user group. More specifically, comments were elicited in response to questions about which aspects of their communication could be replaced by e-mail, which could not, the perceived advantages and disadvantages of e-mail, anticipated problems or concerns, and useful electronic-mail features that should be incorporated in the system design. E-mail experts judged the engineers' comments to accurately reflect information that should be considered for the design of the system. In addition, the methodology provided an environment of user involvement that eased the implementation of the e-mail system. The paper concluded that this methodology can be used to elicit information that is instrumental to successful design and implementation of new technology.
- Higgins, C. A.; Safayeni, F.; Iving, R.; Purdy, R. L., 1992, "Potential Impacts of Computerized Performance Monitoring Systems: Eleven Propositions", Journal of Management Systems, The, January 4(2): 73 - 84.
Safayeni, F.; Purdy, R. L.; van Engelen, R.; Pal, S., 1991, "The Difficulties of Just-in-Time Implementation: A Classification Scheme", International Journal of Operations and Production Management, December 11(7): 27 - 36. Abstract: Many companies experience difficulty in implementing just in time (JIT) in their manufacturing systems. Based on observations, it is contended that the problem is partly due to confusion about JIT and its implications and partly due to a desire to implement JIT within an existing organizational structure. A 4-level classification system is presented as a way of summarizing the different degrees of JIT implementation and their difficulties. Level one may be characterized by an emphasis on education about JIT, minor modifications to the manufacturing process and inventory levels, and an attempt to classify as many activities as possible under the label of JIT. Level 2 is characterized by implementation of an isolated pilot project and unrealistic plans about the future of JIT in the company. The major feature of level 3 is that JIT is implemented in part of the production system. Organizations involved in level 4 have successfully implemented JIT. These organizations are self-contained, semi-autonomous units for manufacturing a product.
Safayeni, F.; Purdy, R. L., 1991, "A Behavioural Case Study of Just-in-Time Implementation", Journal of Operations Management, April 10(2): 213 - 228. Abstract: A behavioral study of the just-in-time (JIT) situation in the circuit pack area of an electronics firm was carried out. The primary focus of the study was to examine how workers perceived JIT in their work area. A total of twelve people were interviewed-eight operators and four supervisors. The results of the study indicated that there had been many positive accomplishments, including the overall positive perceptions of the participants about JIT. There were, also, problems with the JIT situation, often related to the environment of the circuit pack area. Specifically, participants perceived the performance evaluation systems as the most significant problem with JIT it systematically caused a state of "push" instead of "pull." Uncooperativeness of operators was noted by the operators themselves as a problem within the circuit pack area. It is concluded that JIT manufacturing increases the need to effectively handle problems in the organization's environment as well as within the sub-area itself due to the lower levels of inventory. This reduction of inventory increases the interdependence of activities in the organization, thereby necessitating an efficient and effective problem-handling capability. A discussion of why large functional organizations are less appropriate than smaller product organizations as a JIT environment is presented (e.g. effective problem handling requires increased coordination in the organizational structure, which is usually absent in large functionally designed organizations). To overcome this limitation, an organizational team approach is proposed as a temporary means of dealing with the increased interdependencies.
Safayeni, F.; Purdy, R. L.; Higgins, C. A., 1989, "Social Meaning of Personal Computers for Managers and Professionals: Methodology and Results", Behaviour & Information Technology, January 8(2): 99 - 107. Abstract: The social meaning of personal computers for 34 managers and professionals was measured using a situational approach. The results, in general, indicated a positive perception towards computers within the context of their work situations. The methodology was developed in an attempt to overcome some of the difficulties of traditional measures of attitudes. The advantages and the limitations of the method, as well as the process by which impressions are formed, are discussed.
Safayeni, F.; Higgins, C. A.; Purdy, R. L., 1986, "How Useful are Microcomputers: Survey of Managers and Professionals", Office Systems Research Journal, December 4(2): 11 - 19. Abstract: The motivation for this study was the lack of empirical evidence concerning the impact of microcomputers. In an effort to obtain some evidence on the use of microcomputers and the attitudes of users, a telephone survey of microcomputer users was undertaken.