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Internal integration in complex collaborative product development projects
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. (KITE)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5427-3560
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Innovation Management, ISSN 1363-9196, E-ISSN 1757-5877, Vol. 20, no 1, 1-28 p., 1650008Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

While the importance of internal integration for effective inter-firm collaboration with suppliers is widely acknowledged, it is presently unclear how it is achieved in complex collaborative product development projects. This paper aims to address this gap in extant knowledge by investigating the internal integration approaches and exploring related project management challenges. Specifically, three internal integration approaches are found, namely integration based on multidirectional, frequent interaction; integration based on delimited, problem-solving; and based on unidirectional, information-oriented interaction. The study findings suggest 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 involving many internal functions and several different suppliers, the specific supplier tasks, rather than the overall project structure and aims, determine the mode of internal integration required. This complexity creates important challenges for organisation, and requires flexibility in internal integration approaches.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Imperial College Press, 2016. Vol. 20, no 1, 1-28 p., 1650008
Keyword [en]
Internal integration, supplier involvement, task uncertainty, collaborative projects, subsystem, case study
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114889DOI: 10.1142/S1363919616500080ISI: 000387132300008Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84959565960OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-114889DiVA: diva2:792903
Note

The previous status of this article was Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-03-05 Created: 2015-03-05 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically 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
2. Knowledge integration with customers in collaborative product development project
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Knowledge integration with customers in collaborative product development project
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Driven by rapid technological developments, greater customer expectations, and increased product complexity,product development processes increasingly rely on the integration of dispersed specialist knowledge.Consequently, many industrial firms are changing the way they approach product development. Productdevelopment increasingly relies on knowledge integration across firm boundaries. Customers are one of the mostindispensable sources of knowledge, and their knowledge needs to be integrated during product development.However, little is known about the processes and mechanisms used to integrate customer knowledge in productdevelopment.Therefore, firms must devise processes and mechanisms that support knowledge integration withcustomers. This thesis aims to investigate knowledge integration with customers in collaborative productdevelopment.

The work described in this thesis combines a case study with a survey approach. More specifically, five casestudies were conducted at three industrial manufacturing firms. Data were collected in 46 interviews, along withinformal discussions, workshops, and secondary material. The case studies revealed the role of knowledgeintegration, knowledge integration mechanisms, and the importance of contextual factors related to the customer’stechnical capability, and the locus of initiative for the product development project. A cross-sectional survey wasperformed in order to ascertain the role of knowledge integration and its effect on innovation performance and theeffect of firms and customers’ technical capability and locus of initiative on knowledge integration withcustomers. The survey study generated 216 responses from firms operating in the Swedish manufacturingindustry.

This thesis consists of a compiled summary and five appended papers. The results in these provide the basis formodelling knowledge integration with customers. The findings confirm that integrating knowledge withcustomers in product development is associated with better innovation performance. Further, the results point tothe dynamic characteristics of knowledge integration in product development processes. More specifically, firmstend to apply different combinations of mechanisms in different phases, depending on the intended content of theknowledge contribution of the customer and the requirements of each phase in the development process. Inaddition, the degree of technical capability, internal integration capability, and locus of initiative are importantfactors influencing knowledge integration processes. This thesis sheds new light on collaborative productdevelopment with customers by demonstrating that knowledge, and particularly the integration of knowledgeacross firm boundaries, is a central property of product development. The study focuses on industrial andmanufacturing firms, complementing current perspectives on the role of customers in other sectors. In thisparticular sector, complexity and system-wide implications need to be resolved together with customers throughknowledge integration activities. An important implication of the thesis is that firms need to devise mechanismsfor knowledge integration with customers, and be prepared to redevise these as the firm progresses through theproduct development phases.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2017. 101 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1820
Keyword
Product development, knowledge integration, customer collaboration, technical capability, locus of initiative, internal integration, business and economic, product development, innovation management, business administration
National Category
Business Administration Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-133964 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-133964 (DOI)9789176856093 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-02-10, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-01-17 Created: 2017-01-17 Last updated: 2017-01-26Bibliographically approved

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Mohammad, EslamiLakemond, Nicolette

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