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Bridging Geographically Distant R&D and Manufacturing
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
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH. Research area Industrial Production. Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Industrial Engineering and Management.
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
R&D, manufacturing, geographic distance, occupational communities, cross - culture, Sweden, China
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28831OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-28831DiVA: diva2:890125
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
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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