MIT-Zaragoza Speaker Series: Fabrizio Salvador

  • January 19, 2009 - 16:00
  • ZLC, Lecture Room A1

Prof. Fabrizio Salvador
Instituto de Empresa, Madrid



“Operational Glitches, Exception Processing and Organizational Reliability: A Contingency-Theoretical View”
(joint work with Antti Tenhiälä, Helsinki University of Technology)

The literature on supply chain glitches demonstrates that disruptions in the flow of materials have harmful effects on organizational performance and proposes solutions to remove or alleviate the root cause of such glitches. However, much like preventive maintenance cannot fully replace reactive maintenance, supply chain glitches cannot be totally eliminated and thus have to be considered as a sort of routine non-conformity within any organization. We argue that the problem of containing supply chain glitches and protecting organizational reliability calls for the definition of appropriate exception processing routines, and ground our arguments on sociological and organizational design theories as well as on capacity management reasoning. We empirically examine our model in a sample of 163 production planners, operating within 7 different build-to-order / engineer-to-order companies. We find support for the hypothesis that effective exception processing routines rely on formal, rather than informal communication. We also find that automated communication is more appropriate for supplier-generated glitches, as it supports a centralized decision-making process that complies with requisite urgency. Conversely, formal non-automated communication is more appropriate for customer-generated glitches, as it supports a de-centralized decision-making process that complies with glitch equivocality.


Fabrizio Salvador is Professor of Operations Management at Instituto de Empresa Business School, Adjunct Professor at the MIT-Zaragoza Logistics Program and Research Affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been Faculty Resarch Associate at Arizona State University. He received a Ph.D in Operations Management from the University of Padova, where he also graduated in Industrial Engineering. Dr. Salvador research focuses on operation strategy in uncertain environments and customer-centric organization design. He has been researching such topics as mass customization, concurrent product-process-supply chain design and organization design for efficient product configuration. His research has been published in many prestigious academic journals, and he is co-authoring the book “Information Management for Mass Customization: connecting customer, front-end and back-end for fast and efficient personalization.” He has been awarded over 400,000€ in research grants, both from public and private institutions, and has helped numerous companies in addressing operational problems associated with customization and product proliferation. Dr. Salvador teaching experience spans over a decade and includes undergraduate, post-graduate courses, taught both in MBA programs, MS programs, executive programs and in-company programs. He is committed to a student-centered learning philosophy and follows the principle of mixing different methods for a successful learning experience: cases, exercises, lectures, games, student presentations, etc. But far from burying himself in research and writing, Dr. Salvador believes in good teaching as a fundamental mission for academic professors. “If you do good research, you also ought to transfer that valuable knowledge both to students and practitioners. It is your social duty.”


  • Start Date:January 19, 2009
  • Start Time:16:00
  • End Date:January 19, 2009
  • End Time:17:30
  • Location:ZLC, Lecture Room A1