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Ambidextrous learning in a customer order–based context
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Supply Chain and Operations Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8993-4306
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Supply Chain and Operations Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0825-4497
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Supply Chain and Operations Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2252-5337
2022 (English)In: Learning Organization, ISSN 0969-6474, E-ISSN 1758-7905, Vol. 29, no 2, p. 116-128Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to describe ambidextrous learning in organizations within the customer order-based context (COBC), here based on a dynamic view of work processes. The study focuses on how organizations can learn while working with customer orders, considering learning in organizations as both a process and an outcome.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual article focuses on learning in the COBC, where the individual customer requirements represent a key input into the organization’s work processes, thus limiting the possibilities to plan and standardize. The COBC brings about challenges and potentials for learning in organizations where task variety and complexity are high and in which the contradictory interplay between efficiency and responsiveness is apparent not only at a strategic level but also at an operative level in the customer order fulfillment processes. Depending on the variations in tasks and parallel complex work processes between different units in the organization, the ambidextrous learning dynamic can appear in the COBC.

Findings

Five propositions were made from the analysis: Proposition 1: Learning in the COBC can occur both in real-time but also in retrospect and with sporadic and recurrent interventions. Proposition 2: Learning in the COBC can occur for, as well as from, customer order processes. Proposition 3: Learning in the COBC varies and will depend on the delivery strategy. Proposition 4: Learning can be stimulated by the variation in priorities among customer orders in the COBC because the work characteristics for the back office and front office differ between customer order fulfillment processes. Proposition 5: Learning in the COBC can occur both within the back office and front office but also between these organizational units. The paper discusses the importance of building learning infrastructure in COBC and how that can be supported by a suggested learning office.

Originality/value

The present study demonstrates the importance of functions being able to act both as back office and front office in relation to delivery strategy. It also shows the ambidextrous learning process for the sake of improving both the internal efficiency and external effectiveness across the organization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2022. Vol. 29, no 2, p. 116-128
Keywords [en]
Learning organizations, Customization, Organizational learning, Ambidextrous learning
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-54996DOI: 10.1108/TLO-09-2021-0116ISI: 000711131900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85117858993Local ID: GOA;;54996OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-54996DiVA, id: diva2:1607563
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Note

The article was invited by the editor of the journal.

Available from: 2021-11-01 Created: 2021-11-01 Last updated: 2022-08-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A solution space perspective on customization
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A solution space perspective on customization
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Customization is an important feature in today’s manufacturing industry. Although this sector is typically associated with standardization and mass production, the increase in global competition, technological development and demand for product variety has driven many manufacturers, starting from the end of the last century, to offer customized products and services. There are various approaches to customization, ranging from situations where standard components are assembled according to customers specifications to situations where one-off solutions are developed from first principles to customer specific needs.

The point of departure of this doctoral thesis is an inquiry into the concept of solution spaces and how it can be used to explain different practical applications of customization. The thesis comprises a total of four papers, two of which are conceptual and address the broad spectrum of customization approaches, providing a comparative outlook on customization. The empirical body of the thesis specifically focuses on what is commonly known as engineer-to-order (ETO) environments, comprising two papers in which the managerial challenges associated with customization, such as learning in organizations, evaluation of tendering invitations and the elicitation of customer needs, are empirically investigated.

This work makes several notable contributions to the literature. Three types of solution spaces are proposed, representing distinct customization approaches. By synthesizing the solution spaces according to a comprehensive and multidisciplinary frame of reference, this thesis attempts to advance customization research and render it a coherent research field, consolidating key customization concepts within, for instance, operations and supply chain management, product development management, organizational learning and marketing and service management literature. In particular, this thesis links customization to learning, thereby providing managers in customization contexts with valuable support to facilitate learning within their organizations.

Abstract [sv]

Kundanpassning är ett viktigt inslag i dagens tillverkningsindustri. Även om det vanligen associeras med standardisering och massproduktion har hårdnad global konkurrens, teknisk utveckling, och kunders krav på variation drivit många tillverkande företag, från slutet på det senaste århundradet, att erbjuda kundanpassade produkter och tjänster. Det finns olika förhållningssätt till kundanpassning, från situationer där standardkomponenter monteras enligt kunders katalogval, till situationer där helt kundanpassade lösningar skräddarsys från första princip enligt kundunika behov.

Utgångspunkten för denna avhandling är en undersökning av konceptet lösningsrymder, och hur det kan användas för att beskriva olika sätt som kundanpassning kan omsättas i praktiken. Avhandlingen omfattar totalt fyra artiklar, varav två är konceptuella och behandlar det breda spektrumet av kundanpassningsansatser och erbjuder således en jämförande granskning av kundanpassning. Den empiriska delen av avhandlingen fokuserar specifikt på vad som brukar benämnas konstruktion-mot-order miljöer, och omfattar två artiklar som undersöker kundanpassningsrelaterade ledningsutmaningar som berör exempelvis lärande i organisationer, utvärdering av anbudsinbjudningar, och identifiering av kundbehov.

Flera nämnvärda bidrag görs till litteraturen. Tre typer av lösningsrymder föreslås som representerar olika kundanpassningsansatser. Genom en syntetisering av lösningsrymderna med en omfattande och multidisciplinär teoretisk referensram gör avhandlingen en insats för att främja kundanpassningsforskning till att bli ett mer sammanhållet forskningsfält, och sammanför viktiga kundanpassningskoncept inom till exempel verksamhetsstyrning, produktutveckling, organisatoriskt lärande, och marknadsförings- och tjänstelitteratur. I synnerhet bidrar avhandlingen med att koppla kundanpassning till lärande, och ger därmed värdefullt stöd för ledare i kundanpassningskontexter att möjliggöra för lärande inom deras organisationer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, School of Engineering, 2022. p. 93
Series
JTH Dissertation Series ; 068
Keywords
customization; solution space; engineer to order; configure to order; mass customization; organizational learning, kundanpassning; lösningsrymd; konstruktion-mot-order; konfiguration-mot-order; masskundanpassning; organisatoriskt lärande
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-56127 (URN)978-91-87289-73-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-05-06, E1405 (Gjuterisalen), School of Engineering, Jönköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-03-30 Created: 2022-03-30 Last updated: 2022-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Engström, AnnikaKäkelä, NikolasWikner, Joakim

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