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Outsourcing and knowledge integration in new product development
Halmstad University, School of Business and Engineering (SET), Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for Technology, Innovation and Marketing Management (CTIM2).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8603-9269
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with two aspects of knowledge needed for new product development; theaccess to external knowledge through outsourcing of NPD and the integration of knowledgedeveloped when outsourcing activities in the NPD process. As modern products competing onincreasingly international markets call for both complex and specialized knowledge, it isbecoming more important to take an outward perspective of knowledge, searching for externalknowledge sources, in order to be competitive. But it is also important for the firm to take aninward perspective on integration of the knowledge achieved from external sources in order tosecure the knowledge gained.

Outsourcing of New Product Development (NPD) refers to the outsourcing of activities fordeveloping new products (goods and/or service), where all or the innovative part of the NPDprocess is purchased externally according to a contract from organizational units separatefrom the outsourcing firm. This means that the service to develop a whole or a part of a newproduct is outsourced. This definition implies that (A) the outsourced activity shall be aninnovative (strongly contributing to the newness) part of the NPD process, (B) the outsourcedactivity was previously conducted internally, and (C) the activity shall be purchased andregulated in a contractual agreement between the organizations.

Knowledge integration refers to the process of acquiring, sharing, and making use ofknowledge by combining it with previous knowledge in order to create new value. Becauseknowledge possessed in collaborating firms is often complementary, it is important tocombine it with previous knowledge in the firm. Therefore knowledge integration is chosenthroughout the thesis as the term for the overall process.

Based on transaction costs theory, resource based and knowledge based perspectives twomajor issues are investigated. First, the identification of which factors are the most importantfor firms when making the decision to outsource activities in the NPD process. Second, theestablishment of the importance for knowledge integration of external knowledge in the firm,and to find what role level of involvement among staff plays for efficiently achievingknowledge integration.

The thesis is a compilation thesis (with six appended papers) based on findings from threequantitative studies and a longitudinal case study (presented in two of the appended papers).Using cases from and samples of medium-sized manufacturing firms with in-house NPD itwas found that, while cost has been traditionally considered the most important factor foroutsourcing in general, search for external knowledge is found to have a greater importancewhen intangible processes as NPD is object for outsourcing. It is also found that thematicknowledge is the most important type of knowledge to efficiently integrate to achieve highinnovation performance and that a higher degree of processes and culture supportinginvolvement, increase knowledge integration when outsourcing activities in the NPD process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology , 2009. , 294 p.
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1544
Keyword [en]
outsourcing, new product development, knowledge integration
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-3616ISBN: 978-91-7439-036-0 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-3616DiVA: diva2:280955
Public defence
2009-12-11, A117, Luleå, 12:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-12-15 Created: 2009-12-13 Last updated: 2014-03-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Product Development in SMEs: A literature review
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Product Development in SMEs: A literature review
Show others...
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning (IJTIP), ISSN 1740-2832, E-ISSN 1740-2840, Vol. 4, no 3, 299-325 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Product Development (PD) in Small and medium-sized Firms (SMEs) is a long-neglected research area, and little cumulative work has been conducted previously. The purpose of this paper is to provide a first overview of the area of PD in SMEs. In doing so, we draw upon a sample of 149 peer-reviewed research papers selected from an initial sample of 5694 papers. The review provides tentative answers to issues such as the analytical and methodological approaches of the papers, which topics or areas of research have been focused on by previous scholars, and what kinds of topics that are well covered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Olney: InderScience Publishers, 2008
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-2417 (URN)10.1504/IJTIP.2008.020099 (DOI)2-s2.0-50849111399 (Scopus ID)2082/2819 (Local ID)2082/2819 (Archive number)2082/2819 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-03-23 Created: 2009-03-23 Last updated: 2014-09-30Bibliographically approved
2. The use of processes and methods in NPD: A survey of Swedish industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The use of processes and methods in NPD: A survey of Swedish industry
2004 (English)In: International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (IJITM), ISSN 0219-8770, Vol. 1, no 1, 37-54 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research often suggests that formal New Product Development (NPD) processes increase the success rate of NPD projects in a firm. However, recent studies indicate a relatively low usage of formal NPD-processes. Very few studies of NPD practices have been carried out in contexts other than that of the US, thus it is of interest to explore whether or not important differences exist. The present study aims to identify the use of and practices within formal NPD-processes in Swedish manufacturing firms and to compare the results with a study conducted in a US context. The results indicate that differences exist in for example reward systems for NPD teams.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
World Scientific Publishing Company, 2004
Keyword
NPD-process, Survey study, Best practice
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-278 (URN)10.1142/S0219877004000076 (DOI)2082/574 (Local ID)2082/574 (Archive number)2082/574 (OAI)
Available from: 2006-11-27 Created: 2006-11-27 Last updated: 2013-05-27Bibliographically approved
3. Outsourcing of NPD Activities: A best practice approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Outsourcing of NPD Activities: A best practice approach
2010 (English)In: European Journal of Innovation Management, ISSN 1460-1060, Vol. 13, no 1, 5-23 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to improve our understanding of outsourcing NPD, and specifically of factors affecting the outsourcing decisions, by exploring the practices of the most innovative firms.

Design/methodology/approach – An internet based survey sent in winter 2008 to 494 medium-sized firms in four industries. The response rate was 77.3%. Sample was split into the best firms and the rest, and a best practice analysis was performed with correlation analysis.

Findings – The best firms focus on knowledge issues to a higher extent, while cost and geographical proximity are more important for the rest firms. The best firms prioritize knowledge integration and development of knowledge about the outsourcing process higher.

Research limitations/implications - The sample is taken from medium-sized Swedish manufacturing firms. Future samples need to be expanded to further generalize the conclusions. Results show that further research combining resource and cost perspectives are needed.

Practical implications – Managers are recommended to not only find access to needed knowledge, but also give time to integration on a personal level, as this protect knowledge and lower costs in the long run.

Originality/value – Studies of outsourcing NPD are few and, to our knowledge, no quantitative studies on the topic have been made.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2010
Keyword
Outsourcing, NPD, Outsourcing of NPD
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-3042 (URN)10.1108/14601061011013203 (DOI)2-s2.0-74349099404 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2009-09-28 Created: 2009-09-28 Last updated: 2013-01-17Bibliographically approved
4. World-class or Good Enough: The Choice of Partner when Outsourcing New Product Development in Medium-Sized Firms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>World-class or Good Enough: The Choice of Partner when Outsourcing New Product Development in Medium-Sized Firms
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (IJITM), ISSN 0219-8770, Vol. 5, no 4, 423-445 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on outsourcing normally focuses on outsourcing of production and often uses large firms as samples. Only a few studies address the outsourcing of services or knowledge-intensive activities such as new product development (NPD), and especially in the context of medium-sized firms. Our earlier research in medium-sized firms indicates that outsourcing of NPD is frequent in medium-sized firms, and that there is a lack of knowledge about the phenomenon. This article offers a theoretical framework to study the outsourcing of NPD, and includes the results from a longitudinal case study carried out in six Swedish medium-sized firms to help understand the rationales behind outsourcing of NPD. Results from the present study indicate that ‘good enough’ is the keyword for medium-sized firms with limited resources. This means that it is considered more important with proximity and trust than world class competence, since close and frequent contacts are crucial, when outsourcing knowledge-intensive activities such as NPD. A conceptual model and a definition of the good enough concept are also presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Singapore: World Scientific, 2008
Keyword
Outsourcing, external sourcing, new product development, medium-sized firms, SME
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-2401 (URN)10.1142/S0219877008001448 (DOI)2082/2803 (Local ID)2082/2803 (Archive number)2082/2803 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-03-18 Created: 2009-03-18 Last updated: 2011-04-27Bibliographically approved
5. Effects of knowledge integration on innovation performance: A framework and empirical study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of knowledge integration on innovation performance: A framework and empirical study
2009 (English)In: Proceedings of the 16th International Product Development Management Conference (IPDMC'09), Twente: EIASM , 2009, 23- p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

PURPOSE – To provide empirical evidence to support the effect of a firm’s ability to integrate knowledge on the innovation performance of a firm, and to examine the different effects of three categories of knowledge.

DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH – Data were collected using an e-survey sent to R&D managers representing firms with between 100-800 employees from a cross-section of industries. A total of 355 firms were addressed and 193 questionnaires were returned and usable (54.4% response rate). Hypotheses were tested using multiple regression analysis with and without interaction terms.

FINDINGS – Results indicate that ability to integrate thematic knowledge is significantly related to innovation performance. There is also a less significant indication that product properties, as product complexity and newness, have a positively moderating effect on the above relation.

RESEARCH LIMITATIONS – The sample represented medium sized firms. The data were collected in Sweden. As with most studies, it is important to replicate this study in different contexts.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS – The study offers a suggestion to how managers can focus their efforts in order to improve their ability to integrate knowledge from product development projects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Twente: EIASM, 2009
Keyword
knowledge integration, product development, Innovation performance
National Category
Engineering and Technology Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-2958 (URN)2082/3361 (Local ID)2082/3361 (Archive number)2082/3361 (OAI)
Conference
the 16th International Product Development Management Conference (IPDMC'09), "MANAGING DUALITIES IN THE INNOVATION JOURNEY", Twente, Belgium, June 7-9, 2009
Available from: 2009-09-14 Created: 2009-09-14 Last updated: 2013-01-03Bibliographically approved

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