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R&D in Sweden and manufacturing in China: a study of communication challenges
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH. Research area Industrial Production.
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH. Research area Industrial Production.
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 25, no 2, 258-278 p.
Keyword [en]
China, product development, communication, Sweden, culture and language differences, R&D-manufacturing interface
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-22414DOI: 10.1108/JMTM-09-2013-0128Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84897855523OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-22414DiVA: diva2:656277
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2013-10-15 Created: 2013-10-15 Last updated: 2016-11-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Integration in global development projects: A study of new product development and production relocation projects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integration in global development projects: A study of new product development and production relocation projects
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
integration, national culture, linguistic differences, new product development, production relocation
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-29337 (URN)978-91-87289-15-6 (ISBN)
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-02-10 Created: 2016-02-10 Last updated: 2016-02-10Bibliographically approved

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