Quality management – a means to bridge cultural differences?
2014 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Purpose – The aim of the paper is to explore how quality management (QM) principles can be used to mitigate cross-cultural challenges in new product introduction across national borders.
Design/Methodology/Approach – Data for this longitudinal case study were collected through semi-structured interviews in the planning phase, during and after a product introduction involving one Swedish and one Chinese company. In total, 35 interviews were conducted with employees and managers from several organizational functions in Sweden and China.
Findings – Several challenges in the collaboration project were revealed that affected the product realization process. The study showed that QM dimensions may be used to handle the cross-cultural challenges. Strategy and leadership are essential in terms of top management support to set a high priority for the cross-cultural collaboration projects. The study demonstrated that lack of understanding of cultural differences negatively affected the product realization process and product quality, and that these outcomes could be mitigated by a QM approach. The means that may be used include continuous improvements, the development of measurement systems and the use of checklists. Employee development and involvement, finally, is an important QM dimension for cross-cultural management in order to set the same understanding and standards throughout the whole project.
Practical implications – The results demonstrate the strong need to take a systematic approach to work on quality issues in cross-cultural collaboration contexts. Furthermore the study shows that specific attention needs to be paid to understanding cultural differences, as these may have significant impact on quality outcome. Knowledge about cultural characteristics should be integrated in the QM model and tools to mitigate cross-cultural challenges.
Originality/Value of paper – This paper proposes the possibility of using quality management as a means to mitigate cultural challenges in cross-cultural product introduction.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cross-cultural, new product introduction, Sweden-China, QM
Economics and Business Globalization Studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122734OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-122734DiVA: diva2:872428