Managing uncertain, complex product development in high-tech firms: in search of controlled flexibility
2010 (English)In: R &D Management, ISSN 0033-6807, E-ISSN 1467-9310, Vol. 40, no 4, 383-399 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The purpose of this paper is to delve into the dilemma of managing development projects which are not only highly complex but also include multiple dimensions of uncertainty, i.e. market volatility, technological novelty and changing customer specifications. Particular attention is directed towards managerial challenges and approaches to handle this dilemma. Previous research on the subject indicates that complexity and uncertainty require different approaches, but these studies tend to provide suggestions either on managing complexity in stable industries or on managing uncertainty in less complex projects. This paper rests on an in-depth study of two complex development projects in a company context at the extreme end of R&D intensity and uncertainty.
The paper identifies four managerial challenges: coping with volatile market demands; staying at the technological forefront where technology and product development take place at the same time; responding to rapidly changing customer specifications; and dealing with the implications of very low production volumes of non-standard units. The analysis shows that these challenges can be managed by utilizing a matrix of formal systems, quasi-formalized visualization and informal interaction, which promotes responsiveness and flexibility in a controlled fashion.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing Ltd , 2010. Vol. 40, no 4, 383-399 p.
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-51878DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9310.2010.00609.xISI: 000281207600004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-51878DiVA: diva2:278021