General management education is often criticized as irrelevant, out of touch, too ldquotrade-school,rdquo too interested in training financial services professionals and consultants, and insufficiently focused on innovation, the major driver of the economy. Technology management (TM) education has always focused on practical and relevant management issues and innovation has been a major theme. We believe however that rapid changes in the global environment of business demand changes in the underlying assumptions of TM. Starting with a brief overview of the field, this paper examines the major environmental changes that must be addressed by TM and the skills that future graduates will require.
form only given. Engineering and entrepreneurial skills are essential ingredients in the commercialization of technology. This paper compares and contrasts the two skill sets. It examines the experience, training, inclination, and arena for each. Engineering favors conservative, proactive, risk averse, individuals committed to variance reduction, incremental advances and technological feasibility. Entrepreneurship demands visionary, optimistic, risk seeking, individuals who are good communicators seeking economic rewards. It becomes apparent why these skill sets rarely reside in a single individual and why, in the development process, a certain tension is both inevitable and sometimes beneficial
It has been demonstrated that a complex division of labor provides for the diversity of knowledge that is critical for organizational innovation and productivity [Hage, J., 1999. Organizational innovation and organizational change. Annual Review of Sociology 25, 597–622]. This article examines the impact of complexity in an R&D setting and adopts the approach that collaborative research involves a range of specialties and skills, which can be viewed separately from the individuals involved in the collaboration process. To explore this hypothesis, the use of 2-mode network analysis allows for an examination of the interrelationships of these competencies within a cluster of R&D projects in a large multi-disciplinary national laboratory. These networks of competencies are shown to have structural characteristics, which impact on the productivity of research projects. It is argued that the interrelationship of network structure and complexity should be given consideration in the management of R&D projects.
In this case study, we propose a model to foster and sustain innovation in a large corporation. Despite the successful business track record that large corporations invariably show, their sheer size sometimes hinders their ability to respond rapidly to changes in technology, market, and consumer preference. It also affects their ability to innovate consistently. Our model builds on recent theoretical advances in the understanding of the innovation process, placing a strong emphasis on the need for people to interact across business units. We also defend the need for a formal recognition of the people involved in transferring technology from the “concept” stage to the “commercial application” phase. Significant parts of our argument are based on the experience of one of the authors in a large corporation. We begin the paper with an assessment of current perspectives on the innovation process, identifying the lack of a descriptive or normative model that can guide large corporations in the improvement of their innovation performance. Building on the experience of a specific project developed at 3M, which incorporates organizational novelties aimed at improving the process of technology transfer, we conclude with a new model to foster innovation in a large corporation.
Large, successful firms, even with a history of innovation, may create organizational mechanisms that hamper innovation and customer response. This paper will describe how 3M purposefully fights this tendency by attempting to foster innovation within the company through the development of efficient strategies to commercialize technology in rapidly changing environments. The paper will describe 3M’s general policies and its entrepreneurial culture, which are largely well publicized in the popular literature. But the focus will be on on-going strategies to accelerate the commercialization of technology in its electronic business. Specifically, the case of the Electronic Markets Center (EMC), a 3M Electronic and Communications Group unit created in 1997 to leverage the broad range of 3M’s electronic products and technologies will be described and analyzed. Fifteen business units were organized around one single entity to more effectively ensure an overall coordinated strategy for 3M in the electronics market that could change the growth rate of 3M’s sales to the electronic industry from 9% per year to 24% per year. The paper will focus on two critical components of the EMC: (1) what were the strategies behind the design of EMC; (2) how did EMC developed processes to manage the interdependence of the technical and business understanding of industry segments and the relations with key accounts. The paper concludes with lessons learned from the 3M experience thus far, and with recommendations on how to fight some of the barriers to innovation and technology commercialization in large firms.
Whether social networks diffuse knowledge across firm boundaries has been the topic of much debate. To inform these theories, this article considers two questions. First, who has contacts across firm boundaries? And second, when do these relations diffuse knowledge? Our empirical evidence comes from a survey of 346 engineers in the wireless communication industry around Aalborg in Northern Denmark. Our analysis finds that social contact between these engineers is frequent and is used to diffuse knowledge that receivers find useful. More experienced engineers are more likely to receive valuable knowledge from their networks. These findings show that the long-term relationships, which are more likely based on trust and reputation, are also more likely to be a channel valuable knowledge.
We identify managerial challenges offered by an emergent nanotechnology innovation system in which knowledge is dispersed, asymmetric and contested. We argue the proposed models of knowledge absorption and transformation enhance existing theories of knowledge and emergent technology by recognizing how and why knowledge flows among the actors in emergent technology innovation system. We base our argument on combined research evidence from a Delphi study concerning the future of European manufacturing, from which a selected statement has been analyzed, and from analysis of the NanoManufacturing Institute at Leeds University, UK; specifically its work in building ties between different actors associated with nanotechnology. We conclude our paper with suggestions for future research.
This study uses 80 newly public pharmaceutical biotechnology companies to explore the relationship between a high technology venture’s R&D intensity, technical capabilities and absorptive capacity and the amount of entrepreneurial wealth created by the venture. A novel measure of absorptive capacity based on co-citation analysis of a firm’s scientific publications is developed and several indicators of technical capabilities are used to develop early and late stage measures of a firm’s technical capabilities. The results provide strong evidence of a positive relationship between a high technology venture’s R&D intensity, late stage technical capabilities and absorptive capacity and the amount of entrepreneurial wealth created by a high technology venture.
A new organizational entity has emerged at research universities: the technology transfer office (TTO). TTOs were established to facilitate commercial knowledge transfers from universities to practitioners or university/industry technology transfer (UITT). Despite the potential importance of UITT in fostering technological diffusion and as a source of revenue to the university, there has been little systematic analysis of the role of organizational practices in this process. Thus, we rely on an inductive, qualitative approach to identify the key organizational issues in promoting successful knowledge transfers. Based on 55 structured interviews of 98 UITT stakeholders associated with five US research universities, we conclude that there are numerous impediments to effectiveness in UITT: cultural and informational barriers among the three key stakeholder types (university administrators, academics, and firms/entrepreneurs), TTO staffing and compensation practices, and inadequate rewards for faculty involvement in UITT. Two somewhat surprising results are that many faculty members have decided to circumvent the formal UITT process and that involvement in UITT may actually increase the quantity and quality of basic research.
A sample of 150 users and analysts from multiple organizations and many system projects provided field questionnaire data to test hypotheses about the differences in their perceptions of user involvement (UI) and system acceptance. The Franz and Robey [Franz, C.R., Robey, D., 1986. Organizational context, user involvement, and the usefulness of information systems. Decision Sciences, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 329–356.] instrument was used for data collection and factor analyzed, resulting in more focused and specific measures. Analysis of the data showed that users and analysts did not agree on the user's involvement nor did they agree on their perceptions of the acceptability of the system to the user. Relationships of self-ratings of UI with system usage and system acceptance by the user demonstrated high correlations, which were attributed to the narrow focus of the UI and system acceptance measures rather than the original more global measure. Analyst perceptions of UI showed no correlation with a user's perceptions of system acceptance.
Expert Systems pose significant challenges for management and may potentially have a profound impact in the workplace. This paper develops and tests a model based on the theory of reasoned action. The model is tested using a cross-sectional design based on a self-administered questionnaire completed by a sample of 94 users and non-users from two of the largest accounting firms in the U.S. The outcome measures were attitudes toward the system and intentions to use the system in the future (or continue to use it among existing users). The results supported several hypotheses. Intentions to use the system were influenced by social norms encouraging system use and by perceptions of the impacts of system use on valued skills, controlling for the effect of attitudes. Attitudes toward use of the system were affected by the perceived usefulness of the system and its impacts on valued skills. Attitudes were also strongly related to ease of system use, an unanticipated finding. The most surprising result was that general attitudes were not found to predict intentions to use the system. The data show no evidence of fearful reactions of employees to Expert Systems in this particular context. We discuss implications for user acceptance of expert systems, and how our results compare to those for other information technologies.
Numerous accident causation models have been developed, but little effort has been devoted toward systematically evaluating their potential strengths and methods of application. In this paper, 54 different accident causation models and 16 methods of application are reviewed. The accident causation models were divided into three groups: general models of the accident process, models of human error and unsafe behavior, and models of human injury mechanics. Models of human injury mechanics were particularly well-developed and required only rudimentary forms of task analysis to guide the development of safer working conditions. The general models of the accident process were applied extensively in the surveyed application methods. However, models of human error and unsafe behavior were applied only in a very rudimentary form. This in part appears to explain certain deficiencies in traditional hazard analysis.
The new product development (NPD) literature offers mechanisms and processes that will contribute to the successful launch of new products. It is recognized that ultimately new products fail due to their lack of appeal which may manifest itself in terms of functionality, quality, cost, timing, or other factors. The organization model for NPD appears to attract particular attention in recent years is the project team. Within the project team the contributions of accountancy have not been evaluated in a very detailed way. To assess the utilization of emerging cost accounting practices as well as their perceived desirability, an empirical study was conducted with the collaboration of New England firms affiliated with the technology sector. This case study suggests that accounting and marketing collaboration could substantially contribute toward a focused and effective product development effort. This can be achieved by setting parameters for price, quality, and functionality. It is, therefore, advocated that the inclusion of accountants, who draw from recent trends in cost accounting, can significantly enhance development projects.
Firms are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their technology strategies and are procuring know-how through a variety of collaborative methods including licensing agreements, joint ventures, minority investments, and equity acquisitions. This paper examines the relationship between an organization's learning capability and inter-organizational collaboration in acquiring technological competencies. Organizational learning is posited to be a mediating mechanism through which technological competencies are developed via varying levels of organizational interaction. A general model is developed which suggests an “efficient fit” relationship between an organization's ability to learn, characteristics of the technology, and mode of inter-organizational collaboration. The concept of a “learning gap” is introduced, and managerial implications are suggested. Finally, propositions are developed to facilitate future empirical research.
There is often a clash between the necessity to innovate and the high economic risks involved in the introduction of such novelties. Therefore, management has to consider, if there are other strategies of successful technology management than to innovate. One might be the imitation strategy. This survey analyzes the capabilities a firm must have in order to carry out an imitation strategy successfully. Sixty-six firms were interviewed for the survey. Using a LISREL model it was shown that successful imitators must have the following capabilities in order to succeed in overcoming barriers to market entry built up by the innovator. These are: strengths in the areas of technology, marketing and production, and the existence of suitable information gathering capabilities. Furthermore, imitation projects are successful only if they also succeed in realizing a high degree of similarity between the innovative and imitative product (high imitation degree) and in impeding the market entry of further imitators. Further development, or an improvement of the innovation (a low imitation degree) does not affect imitation success in a positive way.
We combine signalling and human capital theory to analyze how competencies of new venture CEOs impact the amount of money technology ventures acquire in venture capital (VC) financing rounds. Using data on 117 financing events in the biotechnology industry, we show that education in management, founder-based firm-specific experience, international experience, and industry-specific experience of the CEO impact the VCs’ financial commitments. Moreover, we find that the effects of management education and industry experience are moderated by the size of the venture's top management team. We discuss the implications of these findings for the research literature on technology ventures and venture capital.
This paper addresses the issues and solutions for the integration of enterprise information systems in the merger & acquisition (M&A) environment. Specific focus is on the result of a ramp to a newly integrated systems and “zero rise-time” start-up approach in our merger situation.The business environment is changing rapidly, prompting mergers, acquisitions and alliances between enterprises as a global trend (Yokoyama, S., Strategy of alliance and confederacy, Toyokeizai shinpou, 1998 (Japanese)). Mass media is busy reporting M&A (both cross-border and cross-industry), which were unimaginable combinations before. Integration of enterprise information processing systems, however, always remains a problem, even in this seemingly routine M&A age, presenting difficulties to merged companies long after the merger (Mitsubishi Research Institute, in: Proceedings of the Innovation of Group Management and Measures of Computerization, 1999 (Japanese)).At our firm, we have restructured business, integrating, discontinuing and partially splitting plant and business, and began as a new entity 1 October 1998 (Shibaura Mechatronics Corporation, in: Symphony, 1998 (Japanese)). Through this process, we aimed at starting up and improving systems, with the intent of rapid deployment of such programs throughout the newly merged (integrated) company.Success factors are oriented toward subsystems distributed functionally and physically, full utilization of standard packaged software and combination of internal jobs and outsourcing (Shimada, T., Strategy of outsourcing, Nikkagiren, 1997 (Japanese)). Practical advantages obtained by our case study are discussed which shall be helpful to readers seeking an understanding of the dynamics effecting a M&A program, since papers in this regard have relatively been few.
This study examined the relationship between the acquisition of technological innovations and organizational performance using the framework of firm resource-based theory, as proposed by Barney [Barney, J., 1991. Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. J. Manage. 17, 99–120]. It was hypothesized that there would be a significant and positive relationship between the acquisition of technological innovations and organizational performance. It was further hypothesized that this relationship would be moderated by the extent to which the technological innovations were simultaneously valuable, imperfectly imitable, and rare. A sample of 189 Florida hospitals was used in the study. A positive and significant relationship was found between the acquisition of medical technological innovations and hospital financial performance, and the relationship was found to be strongest when the hospital's medical technologies were simultaneously valuable, imperfectly imitable, and rare.
As global competitive pressure increases and product life cycles compress, companies are trying to shorten product development cycles. This article relates the actual length of product development cycle times (in months) for project data from 21 divisions of 11 firms in 5 industries to project, process and team structure factors with statistically significant results. The model and data quantify the impact of project newness and complexity (the number of functions a product performs) on increasing development cycle time length. The data also demonstrate how much impact using a cross-functional product development team has on decreasing cycle time.
This study develops theory regarding organizational survival and technology management in global, technology-intensive industries. Findings indicate that ecological effects on survival localize to the level of separate international markets as an industry becomes global. How firms structurally participate in these markets moderate these ecological forces. Strategic choices about technology management, such as centralized versus decentralized manufacturing and R&D operations, help firms “crack” densely packed markets. The developed theory is tested with firm-level data on the structure and international presence of all organizations in the worldwide population of integrated circuit manufacturers, from 1961 to 1994.
Designing a performance measurement system (PMS) for R&D activities is a very critical but challenging task for supporting decision making and people motivation. Therefore, the subject is widely discussed in literature, but the use of a PMS for R&D is still uncommon among companies.The paper aims at making a step further in the field, elaborating a reference framework that describes the logical steps for the definition of a PMS for R&D. Moreover, the problem of designing an effective PMS is in-depth studied in a real context, a biotech company that operates in the field of pharmaceutical research.
Due to the changing competitive landscape, organizations must increasingly focus on acquiring external knowledge to advance new technologies. This study examines the institutionalization of knowledge transfer activities between industrial firms and university research centers. Data were collected from 189 firms collaborating with 21 university research centers in the US. Results show that knowledge transfer activities are facilitated when industrial firms have more mechanistic structures, cultures that are more stable and direction-oriented, and when the firm is more trusting of its university research center partner. Implications for both industry and universities, including their effect on firm performance, are discussed.
This paper examines ways of managing testing more efficiently and effectively. The importance and the workload of testing have been growing constantly in the telecommunication industry, as a result of shorter product lifecycles and decreased time-to-market. At the same time, the complexity of products has increased with a decrease in physical dimensions. Managers face enormous challenges in developing knowledge and effective testing processes. This case study proposes the application of two models, a testing optimization model and an extended V2M2 (Verification Validation Maturity Model) model, for managing the value of testing. In the empirical part of the study, the present state of testing management is examined.
The management of innovation is a complex task and the management of suppliers' innovative activities is especially so because it involves managing technological factors across the traditional boundaries of the firm. This paper explores the determinants of suppliers' innovative activities by developing a theoretical model of these activities and testing this model with data from a set of organizations that supply intermediate goods to the automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the United States. The contingency model developed assumes that the factors influencing product innovation by a supplier firm depend on a key characteristic of its environment — the degree of dependence on a specific automotive OEM for its livelihood. Statistical analysis of survey data on supplier innovative activity from 172 respondents demonstrates that there are substantial differences in the factors leading to innovative activity in independent and dependent suppliers. While independent suppliers follow more traditional economic models which argue that they will innovate only if they perceive favorable and calculable benefit-cost ratios, dependent suppliers seem more willing to innovate in less clearly favorable circumstances if they are clear on what kinds of innovations are desired by their customers. That is, the dependent suppliers are willing to invest in innovation to maintain their customer base even if the results are not clearly cost effective in the short term. The implications are that OEMs that place a high priority on encouraging innovation by their suppliers must make some effort to differentiate between suppliers that are highly dependent on the OEM-supplier relationship and those that are not. The study results suggest ways in which these two types of suppliers should be managed.
This paper deals with the role of existing knowledge in the learning process of the internationalizing organisation. Using an organisational routine approach to organisational knowledge, the paper explores the dual role of pre-existing knowledge in internationalisation. Organisational learning is guided by pre-existing knowledge but is also providing a hindrance to further knowledge development. Experiential learning may challenge existing assumptions in the firm which trigger organisational resistance. The empirical context of the study consists of two in-depth case studies of offshoring activities in China.
This paper compares sociotechnical systems (STS) theory and actor network theory (ANT) as developed by Latour, Callon and Law. We examine how STS and ANT can be viewed as responses to rationalist/functionalist research on large sociotechnical systems and as extensions and elaborations of pragmatist/culturalist frameworks developed in sociology and anthropology. We reexamine, from an actor network perspective, Trist and Bamforth’s seminal article in which the concept of a sociotechnical system was introduced. We also discuss how STS ideas on interactive planning can be combined with concepts from ANT to investigate interdependent processes of invention and innovation in large sociotechnical networks.
Value-added (quality) auditing is emerging as one of the most powerful tools for continuous quality improvement, with the introduction of the ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 19011 standards that focus team-based audits, proper auditor skills, process auditing, and effectiveness, etc. Formation of an effective quality audit team (QAT) based on the required auditor skills is therefore the initial stage of the value added auditing. QATs audit organizations at different locations with varying auditing requirements in order to evaluate an organization's own quality system (first party part audits according to IEC9001 Clause 8.2.2). The QAT consists of a lead auditor and one or more auditors that have the required skills in varying levels for the execution of an audit. For a successful audit, the formation of a QAT is vital since each audit team must at least fulfill the minimum requirements and skills needed for a specific audit. In this case study, a fuzzy mathematical-programming model and a solution algorithm based on “simulated annealing” is proposed for the formation of QATs. This is one of the first attempts in the literature to form this kind of teams analytically. Example problems are also solved in the paper to present the application of the proposed approach.
A survey of Canadian biotechnology firms was conducted to investigate their product development strategies and value-added progress. This paper reports results that pertain to the research question: What differentiates firms that make most value-added progress, primarily through product development, from others? Previous research on new product development suggests that factors such as a clear direction provided by top management, co-operation between different functions, and co-operation with other firms or organizations contribute to the effectiveness of product development and thus value-added progress. This study found that besides the company's age, skills complementing the core technology and organizational politics differentiated between firms with high and low levels of value-added progress.
This study investigated how personal characteristics and organizational context are associated with strategic decision makers' intentions to adopt technological innovations. Positive significant relationships were found between hospital top managers' intentions to adopt potential innovations and risk propensity, self-efficacy, perceived organizational strategy, perceived information processing capacity, and perceived resource availability. The impact of personal and organizational factors on intentions to adopt, implications of our results, and future research directions are discussed.
Research on innovation in organizations has generally examined the differences in the characteristics of innovative and non-innovative organizations, an endeavor that has often produced inconsistent results. In this paper, we propose that future research may resolve those inconsistencies by incorporating in the theory the differences between organizations that mostly generate innovations and those that mostly adopt innovations. We refer to the former, which are primarily producers or suppliers of innovation, as innovation-generating organizations, and to the latter, which are preponderantly users of innovations produced by innovation-generating organizations, as innovation-adopting organizations. Building on the notion that the processes of generating and adopting innovation are distinct phenomena that are facilitated by different organizational conditions, we discuss how the distinction between innovation-generating and innovation-adopting organizations would contribute to clarifying several inconsistent research findings, such as the relationship between innovation and size, the role of innovation radicalness, and the selection of appropriate measures of innovation.
Advanced manufacturing technologies can be divided into two types, hard and soft. Hard technologies are biased towards the use of hardware such as robotics while soft technologies, e.g., Total Quality Management, rely more on organisational procedures and management methods. Companies will have had implemented different amounts of these two technology types. An interactive research framework is developed, proposing that supplier collaboration is more closely linked to the level of soft technology implementation than to that for hard technology. The framework is empirically tested using data from 83 firms in the top tier of the Turkish automotive industry. The positive outcome of this innovative study contributes to knowledge of these important relationships and better teaches managerial practice. The generic framework contributed by this research can, potentially, be applied to other industries with high levels of AMT implementation.
Managers make decisions to adopt technological innovations within an organizational context. This research explores the role of organizational climate as it affects the impacts of organizational context on innovativeness. Context refers here to organizational size, slack resources, and organizational age. We analyze three known climate dimensions as moderator variables: risk orientation, external orientation, and achievement orientation. Data describe the adoption of medical imaging technologies by 70 hospitals. Climate measures come from several technology decision-makers within each organization. Technology measures of radicalness and relative advantage are ratings by five outside experts in the use of these 68 technologies. The study also includes the traditional measure that counts the overall number of innovations adopted. Innovativeness is a multi-dimensional composite variable composed of radicalness, relative advantage, and number of innovations adopted. As expected, results show that organizational size and slack are positively related with innovativeness. Hierarchical regression analyses indicate that the climate measures of risk orientation and external orientation interact significantly with the context dimensions of organizational size and organizational age. The model developed and tested in this project explains over 50% of the total variance in innovativeness.
We propose a new typology of organizational innovation based on the integration of theories of organizational learning and theories of knowledge. The three dimensions that we use to construct our typology of innovations are: tacit–explicit, systemic–autonomous and simple–complex. We, then, analyze the impact of these different types of innovations on the method of sourcing, cost of implementation, and innovation effectiveness. We propose that as innovations become more tacit, systemic and complex, they tend to be more internally sourced, more costly to implement, and more effective.We test the hypotheses using innovations from the commercial banking industry. Data for this study were collected from multiple sources. The innovations were categorized into different types by a panel of experts. Data on method of sourcing, cost and effectiveness were collected from a sample of 101 banks. Our results showed that autonomous innovations were less likely to be internally sourced than systemic innovations; autonomous and complex innovations were more costly to implement than systemic and simple innovations. Explicit innovations were seen as more effective than implicit innovations. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Innovation scholars face an enduring research problem: how to make models that are testable, yet reflect the complexity of real business environments. Typically, researchers of organizational innovation define their research by focusing on one dimension of innovation—type of innovation, radicalness of innovation, or stage of innovation—at a time. In reality, these dimensions overlap, which partly explains why past theories of the relationships between organizational structure and innovation have produced inconsistent results. In this paper, we develop a more complex model for structure–innovation relationships. First, we define four environmental conditions, using stability and predictability variables of environmental change. Second, we articulate organizational structure and innovation characteristics that would hold for firms under each of our four sets of conditions. This basic framework allows us to compare and subsequently to extend, the three theories of structure and innovation that address the dimensions of innovation mentioned above. Finally, we advance a series of propositions to predict the structural characteristics that facilitate adoption of innovations of different types at different stages, under four conditions of environmental change.
The diversity of priorities and differing awareness of sustainable practices among stakeholders in the architecture, engineering and construction industry is critically shaping the adoption of green technology, and the rate at which the industry is shifting towards more sustainable practices. In this paper, we develop an integrated framework that allows reorganization and integration of existing sustainability research in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, emphasizing the perspective of decision-makers and stakeholders. Further, an agent-based model is introduced that allows study of the decision-maker with the decision context, thus making them an integral part of the decision-making process rather than independent of it. The coupled system is adaptive and dynamically organizes itself to reflect complex bottom-up interactions between individual stakeholders, their contexts and the constraints driving their decisions even as they implement or respond to top-down decisions pertaining to the adoption of sustainable practices. The contention of this research is that an integrative systems approach to top-down decision-making and an understanding of bottom-up influences in stakeholder decisions is critical to the understanding sustainable practices and decisions that lead to their adoption in the AEC industry.
The logic of time-based competition (TBC) has unleashed a broadside of industrial dynamics whereby the accelerating pace of technical advance may well challenge the financial health of industry-leading producers. Through a series of comparative case studies and subsequent analyses of entire populations of major producers in selected industries, this paper demonstrates that the financial justification for aggressive internal investment in product innovation has been deteriorating over the past decade or two. The results also indicate that TBC-induced financial pressures can flow downstream through industrial linkages from producers of technology-intensive intermediate inputs to end-product producers. Ultimately, in their quest to be time-based competitors, as firms which use rapid technical advance to establish competitive advantage, they can set in motion deeper and broader endogenous influences capable of reworking substantially long-established industry forms and fundamentals.
The process of implementing advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) begins after the decision to commit funds for the new technology has been made. The implementation process consists of making and implementing a series of decisions. Typical decisions include system functions, resource commitments, location of pilot projects, and schedule. Such decisions have three objectives: technical, economic, and political. Our model includes four major factors that influence implementation success: the level of tolerance for acceptable decisions, the level of technical, economic and political resources available for implementation, the direction of relationships among the three objectives, and the extent to which the objectives are balanced in decision-making. Dynamics by which these four factors interrelate are discussed. Examples from an electronics company are used to illustrate the model, its theoretical contributions are discussed, and suggestions are offered as to how to successfully manage the interaction among the factors in the model.
Approximately 50% to 75% of the advanced manufacturing technology implementations executed in the United States are believed to be failures in terms of flexibility, responsiveness, reliability, and quality. Improper attention to the human aspects of implementing technology has been identified as a primary cause of these failures. This paper focuses on the identification and analysis of the human issues influencing the successful implementation of advanced manufacturing technology. The resulting regression model can guide organizations in effectively allocating resources during the conceptual, planning, installation and start-up phases of the implementation process.
This paper examines the determinants of lead time performance in the world auto industry, a complex consumer durable industry which is facing intensifying global competition and volatile market demands. We focus on explaining the apparent lead time advantage of the Japanese firms compared to their American and European competitors. Drawing on an extensive base of data on development projects, the paper studies the effect of product and project characteristics and organizational capabilities on development lead time. The notion that product development is a system of problem solving cycles provides a conceptual framework for the analysis. A central theme in the paper is the distinction between planning and engineering. We model the differences in problem solving in these activities and examine the determinants of lead time in them.We examine the effects of product content, project scope, and organizational capability for quick development. The results suggest that different factors influence planning and engineering: product innovation and project scope affect planning lead time, while process innovation and organizational capability affect engineering lead time. Overall, we find that the real lead time advantage of the Japanese is on the order of 12 months. In a competitive market with changing customer demands and rapid technological advance, a lead time gap of that magnitude is competitively significant.
First and second mover theory, as developed in industrial organization economics, maintains that firms can gain competitive advantage by using optimal timing in the introduction of innovations. Because the industry is the unit of analysis, the theory does not provide specific guidance for individual firms. We analyze the underlying sources of first and second mover timing advantages and clarify several issues regarding the basic theory. We then identify a variety of factors at the industry, firm and product/service levels and develop propositions showing their relations to individual firms in their efforts to benefit from timing advantages. We discuss the link which these indicator factors provide between economic theory and strategic timing choices. Finally, we suggest directions for research which would assist firms and their managers in selecting and pursuing innovation timing strategies.
Based on a study of knowledge transfer within more than 15 industries, across three forms of governance, and between both domestic and international R&D partners, knowledge transfer success was found to be associated with several key variables, and to hinge upon (a) both R&D units’ understanding where the desired knowledge resides within the source, (b) the extent to which the parties share similar knowledge bases, and the extent of interactions between the source and the recipient to (c) transfer the knowledge and (d) participate in an articulation process through which the source’s knowledge is made accessible to the recipient.
This study investigated how 872 US aerospace scientists and engineers select information carriers. When considering oral and written information carriers, the principle of least effort was supported with a strong preference for oral communication over written communication. In examining how the respondents select written carriers, the decision to use or not to use a written carrier was found to be primarily a function of the perceived importance of the carrier’s information to a person’s work. Task uncertainty and task complexity were found to be significant, but not the primary nor a totally consistent criteria. The perceived quality and accessibility of written carriers were not found significant. The findings reinforce the need for firms to hire knowledgeable employees, to provide them with comprehensive training programs, and to develop formal and informal communication networks.
But over the years I began to realize that change too has to be managed. In fact, I came to realize that the only way in which an institution, whether a government, a university, a business, a labor union, or an army, can maintain continuity, is by building systematic, organized innovation into its very structure Peter Drucker.1
Successful new product development (NPD) requires effective strategies for reducing risk. Knowledge management systems (KMS) have the potential to aid in risk reduction, e.g. by gathering and processing relevant information and encapsulated knowledge from a variety of internal and external sources. The potential benefits of KMS, however, have not been fully realized, and may actually introduce new risks. This paper presents a practioner view of the desired characteristics of tools to support NPD and suggests a research agenda for the use of knowledge-based tools from the perspective of balancing benefits and risks.
This case study explores the interaction between domestic and foreign governmental policy on technology transfer with the goal of exploring the long-term impacts of technology transfer. Specifically, the impact of successive licensing of fighter aircraft manufacturing and design to Japan in the development of Japan’s aircraft industry is reviewed. Results indicate Japan has built a domestic aircraft industry through sequential learning with foreign technology transfers from the United States, and design and production on domestic fighter aircraft. This process was facilitated by governmental policies in both Japan and the United States.
Research has shown that alignment between manufacturing strategy and decisions regarding automation are often of an ad hoc nature, i.e. the support for automation decisions is poor. Support tools to find an appropriate level of automation are thus needed in order to achieve more efficient and robust production systems. The methodology presented in this paper contains five sub-processes where the chosen level of automation is aligned with the manufacturing strategy. Together they form an automation strategy, which secures a desired direction of the firm and also supports robustness and reliability of the manufacturing system due to the holistic approach chosen.
There is growing consensus that overall alliance termination rates are high. However, despite this track record of termination and despite unsurpassed growth rates of strategic technology alliances, little is known about the reasons for their termination. Typically strategic alliances have been characterized as inherently instable, i.e. often involving unplanned and premature termination of the alliance by partnering firms indicating alliance failure. The literature on strategic technology alliances, however, proposes that alliance termination does not always indicate failure, but can be intended and can be a sign of strength. We examine these different perceptions by using a sample of 48 strategic technology alliances in different high-technology industries. The findings in the paper confirm that the rates of termination are rather high for strategic technology alliances. Overall, we found that in particular negative prospects about future cooperation, negative perceptions about joint benefits and the lack of a win-win situation had an impact on the decision to terminate a strategic technology alliance. Also, the fact that some companies opt only for short-term (not for long-term and renewed) cooperation seems to introduce a negative factor into the longevity of strategic technology alliances.
Alliances between smaller biotechnology firms and larger pharmaceutical firms are the backbone of new product development strategies within the pharmaceutical industry. While pharmaceutical firms seek access to new technologies and products, small biotechnology firms depend on these alliance relationships to access key resources such as financing and downstream capabilities because they typically do not have the resources needed in-house to successfully commercialize their products. In this study, we investigate the governance structure of these alliance relationships arguing that the more resource rich a biotechnology firm is, in terms of technical, commercial, and social capital, the less likely it is to give up equity to an alliance partner. Results suggest that greater biotech patent quality, cash position, and alliance credibility impact the type of governance structure that is chosen by the alliance partners and therefore the extent of control that the biotechnology firm is willing to give up in the relationship.
The purpose of this research is to analyze the stability of strategic alliances initiated at different stages of the new product development process and to determine the appropriateness of different governance structures (e.g., joint ventures, minority equity alliances, non-equity alliances). Specifically, we argue that the minority equity form of alliance is an inherently unstable structure for product development partnerships. Key findings of this study are: (a) minority equity alliances are more likely to be terminated within 5 years than joint ventures and non-equity alliances, (b) alliances are more likely to be terminated if they are initiated in the early and late stages of product development and less likely to be terminated if they are initiated in the mid-stages of product development, and (c) alliances are more likely to become acquisitions if they are initiated in the mid-stages of product development and less likely to become acquisitions if they are initiated in the early and late stages of product development.
Technical problems are solved under uncertainty and ambiguity. Most empirical research in technical problem solving has two characteristics in common: no differentiation between uncertainty and ambiguity is made, and the degree of uncertainty or ambiguity is considered exogeneous to the problem-solving process. This paper argues, first, that uncertainty and ambiguity are dissimilar concepts, thereby following ideas proposed by the recent literature. Problem solving under ambiguity involves fundamentally different tasks than problem solving under uncertainty. Consequently, different organizational structures are appropriate and different types of resources needed. Second, it is argued that levels of uncertainty and ambiguity are not exogenously given but are rather determined in the problem-framing process. In this process, problem solvers select explicitly or implicitly specific levels of uncertainty and ambiguity. This choice is contingent on context characteristics such as prior problem-solving experiences, organizational context, and available resources. It is proposed that the efficiency of the problem-solving process and the outcome of the process depends on the fit between the levels of uncertainty and ambiguity chosen and the context characteristics. Implications of the proposed framework for research on communication gatekeepers and on the role of top managers in technical change are discussed.