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Knowledge Integration in Development of Complex Systems: what Suppliers Actually Do to Integrate with Buyers?
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project Innovations and Entrepreneurship. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project Innovations and Entrepreneurship. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5427-3560
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The importance of internal integration for effective inter-firm collaboration with suppliers has been acknowledged, however it is unclear how internal integration is achieved in complex product development projects. This paper investigates how internal integration takes place and explores related project management challenges. Three internal integration approaches are found: integration based on multidirectional, frequent interaction; based on delimited, problem-solving teams; and based on unidirectional, information-oriented interaction. The paper shows that internal integration approaches are related to the degree of uncertainty in the subsystems of the suppliers rather than the overall product system. Consequently, in complex product development projects with several different suppliers involved, the specific supplier task rather than the overall project task determines internal integration in the project. This creates important challenges for organisation, and requires flexibility in internal integration approaches.

Keyword [en]
Internal integration; Supplier involvement; Task uncertainty; Collaborative projects; Subsystem; Case study
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-106335OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-106335DiVA: diva2:715497
Available from: 2014-05-05 Created: 2014-05-05 Last updated: 2016-08-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Knowledge Integration in Buyer-Supplier Collaboration in Product Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Knowledge Integration in Buyer-Supplier Collaboration in Product Development
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Recent research in the field of buyer-supplier collaboration has found that product innovation increases if suppliers and their buyers exchange what they know. From a knowledge-based view, it is argued that both buyers and suppliers are important sources of knowledge. Still, the field lacks a comprehensive understanding of: 1) knowledge integration with buyers in terms of what the buyer’s contribution specifically consists of, 2) the timing of this contribution, and 3) how exactly this buyer knowledge integrates in a collaborative product development project. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to investigate how suppliers integrate knowledge with buyers in collaborative product development projects.

This study examines six case studies in three industrial sectors, and examines an extensive collection of literature based on interviews, workshops and focused group meetings. The thesis also includes a compiled summary and three appended papers.

The first of these three papers identifies knowledge content and timing of knowledge integration with buyers. The second paper highlights the mechanisms that suppliers use to integrate knowledge with buyers. The third and final paper describes internal integration approaches that enhance and facilitate the knowledge integration between buyers and suppliers.

A principal contribution of this thesis is its demonstration of the dynamism of knowledge integration, specifically in understanding how knowledge integration is used in different phases of product development and how this integration may change over time. The study reveals that knowledge content, which need to be integrated with the buyer, must align with the requirements of each phase of the product development process. Moreover, different knowledge integration mechanisms may be used between the buyer and suppliers during each phase of the project.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 62 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1668
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-106338 (URN)978-91-7519-298-7 (ISBN)
Presentation
2014-05-12, A35, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-05-05 Created: 2014-05-05 Last updated: 2016-08-29Bibliographically approved

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Eslami, MohammadLakemond, Nicolette

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