Greg J. Bamber, Russell D. Lansbury

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16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the establishment of two large dry food warehouses or distribution centres (DCs) each of which involved much technological innovation. We explore whether the introduction of the same technology into two similar DCs in one corporation leads to similar outcomes and to what extent such a technological change may influence organizational behaviour. We assess the managerial strategies and tactics associated with the technological change and the subsequent experiences at each site. In short, distribution centre A (DCA) was plagued by industrial disruption and had low productivity. By contrast, distribution centre B (DCB) had virtually no disruption and had high productivity. Following a change of corporate strategy, DCA was contracted out to a third party independent operator and became DCX. the new management immediately reduced the industrial disruption there and appeared to increase the productivity too; thus DCX was transformed in comparison with DGA. These contrasts are explained in terms of differing managerial strategies, patterns of industrial relations and work organization. We conclude that these three factors are crucial in determining the success of technological change and are more important determinants of organizational behaviour than is the particular type of technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-216
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • technological innovation
  • new technology
  • Retail goods movement
  • Retail distribution
  • productivity
  • Management strategies
  • organizational behaviour

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