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Integration in global development projects: A study of new product development and production relocation projects
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Industrial Engineering and Management. Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH. Research area Industrial Production.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3361-6835
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In today’s constantly changing environment globalization offers opportunities as well as threats to manufacturing companies. One trend in industry is that to meet customer demands and global competition, manufacturing companies need to frequently introduce new products to the market at the right time and cost. Another trend is that manufacturing companies relocate their production sites abroad. Therefore, in this thesis the context is global development projects, which includes both new product development and production relocation projects. The global dimension implies that team members are located in different countries. Integration between team members, which in this thesis refers to interaction processes involving information exchange on the one hand and collaboration or cooperation on the other, is therefore a challenge.

Even if much research exists with regard to integration, integration across national borders in global development projects has not been addressed to a greater extent. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to expand the analysis of integration in global development projects in order to gain insights regarding the use of different integration mechanisms. The thesis specifically addresses the influence of national cultural and linguistic differences on integration as well as the use of various integration mechanisms. The results originate from one longitudinal case study of a global new product development project and two retrospective case studies including global new product development and production relocation projects.

In general, it is concluded that in global development projects national cultural and linguistic differences amplify integration difficulties among project team members who belong to different functions. The comparison of the three global development projects indicated that some of the integration mechanisms worked and were used to integrate team members from different functions, while others did not work as intended. Therefore, this thesis argues that there is a need for a diverse set of integration mechanisms that depend on the context of a global development project and specifically on national cultural and linguistic differences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, School of Engineering , 2016. , 75 p.
Series
JTH Dissertation Series, 14
Keyword [en]
integration, national culture, linguistic differences, new product development, production relocation
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-29337ISBN: 978-91-87289-15-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-29337DiVA: diva2:902057
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-02-10 Created: 2016-02-10 Last updated: 2016-02-10Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. R&D in Sweden and manufacturing in China: a study of communication challenges
Open this publication in new window or tab >>R&D in Sweden and manufacturing in China: a study of communication challenges
2014 (English)In: Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, ISSN 1741-038X, E-ISSN 1758-7786, Vol. 25, no 2, 258-278 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore communication challenges related to geographic distance, with emphasis on differences in national culture and language between R&D and manufacturing engineers, in a development project faced with uncertainty and equivocality.

Design/methodology/approach: The results originate from a longitudinal single-case study of a commercial product development project.

Findings: Three communication challenges are identified: clarity of shared information, intention to share information, and responsiveness to information received. The challenges are strongly associated with differences in national culture and language. The study also indicates that the communication challenges cannot only be handled by the use of rich communication media, but also by employment of communication media of low richness such as e-mails or “picture books”.

Research limitations/implications: The single-case study approach limits the ability to generalize the findings. Future research should thus focus on additional studies of geographically separated R&D and manufacturing.

Originality/value: The results from the study provide important insights for the management of product development in geographically dispersed settings. The findings emphasize the need to consider potential differences in national culture and language within a product development team. Acknowledging these differences and managing them properly can support efficiency of product development projects.

Keyword
China, product development, communication, Sweden, culture and language differences, R&D-manufacturing interface
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-22414 (URN)10.1108/JMTM-09-2013-0128 (DOI)2-s2.0-84897855523 (Scopus ID)
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2013-10-15 Created: 2013-10-15 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Bridging Geographically Distant R&D and Manufacturing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bridging Geographically Distant R&D and Manufacturing
2014 (English)In: Proceedings of the R&D Management Conference, Stuttgart, Germany, 3–6 June 2014., 2014Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Although important research has been carried out, knowledge on bridges between the R&D and manufacturing occupational communities in a cross - national context is lacking. Much of the research has emphasized on the different bridges - tools, object, practices, brokers designed by the company to bridge the occupational communities. To lesser extent scholars have observed the emergence of individuals who can assist in bridging occupational communities divided by the boundaries of language and national culture.

Drawing on qualitative interviews with persons belonging to a Swedish large manufacturing company, this paper describes and examines the emergent role of an engineer from an R&D center in China as a mediator of the two occupational communities. Based on community of practice theory, this study regards R&D in Sweden and the manufacturing site in China as members of two interdependent occupational communities that struggle to communicate due to barriers created by geographical distance – i.e. language and cultural distance. The findings suggest that the mediator from the R&D center in China may serve as an appropriate organizational solution in situation where geographical distance exist. The mediator role provides not only technical support, but also helps to crate shared meanings and facilitates the communication between R&D in Sweden and the manufacturing site in China. This study contributes to the R&D management theory by addressing an effective way to facilitate cross-cultural communication between engineers that are geographically distant during new product development.

Keyword
R&D, manufacturing, geographic distance, occupational communities, cross - culture, Sweden, China
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28831 (URN)
Conference
R&D Management Conference, Stuttgart, Germany, 3–6 June 2014.
Projects
Distributed Innovation Projects: Management of Technological and Organizational Challenges in Distributed Settings (DINO)
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2015-12-30 Created: 2015-12-30 Last updated: 2016-02-10
3. Management of international manufacturing relocation projects of new and existing products
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Management of international manufacturing relocation projects of new and existing products
2014 (English)In: Proceedings of the 21st EurOMA Conference, Palermo, Italy, 20 - 25 June, 2014, 2014Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many Scandinavian companies choose to invest in new manufacturing facilities in

Central European or Asian countries. This complicates the production start-up of both

existing and new products. This paper compares production start-ups of new and

existing products in a new and off-shore manufacturing facility in Poland.

Consequently, the aim is to enhance the understanding of factors critical to achieve the

desired production start-up targets. The factors identified in the study are in line with

the previous literature. Nonetheless, this study emphasizes on the factors related to

people which turned to be of the most importance for the timely production start-up.

Keywords: product and production system newness, production start-up

Keyword
product and production system newness, production start-up, cross-culture, Sweden, Poland, international production relocation, gobal development projects
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28832 (URN)
Conference
21st EurOMA Conference, Palermo, Italy, 20 - 25 June 2014
Available from: 2015-12-30 Created: 2015-12-30 Last updated: 2016-02-10

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