Additive manufacturing (AM) is one technology among the many under the umbrella of Industry 4.0 technologies. AM is developing rapidly, and extant research reveals that the technology contains possibilities for firms to develop competitive advantages, but that it also poses several challenges to overcome before such benefits can be achieved. To provide further insight into this topic, this paper aims to analyse how a business association can disseminate knowledge and experience about AM to its members.
The paper is based on 13 interviews from 11 different organisations within an embedded single-case study of a Danish non-profit business association.
The paper identifies 12 motivational factors for joining the association as well as seven perceived challenges in the current setup of the association. The paper demonstrates that barriers to the use of AM can be reduced through participation in a business association.
The paper is based on a single-case study design and does not provide a foundation for statistical generalisations. The challenges identified are biased towards the companies that are members and do not represent companies that either consciously or unconsciously are not part of the association.
Being aware of the barriers for AM is important to optimize the benefits of joining a business association. However, operating such an association with the purpose of disseminating AM knowledge involves the inherent dilemma of protecting knowledge for the individual members, and at the same time, fostering knowledge sharing.
The paper provides novel data on how a business association can help mitigate perceived barriers to using AM.
The authors would like to thank IT-Vest – Networking Universities in Denmark for funding the research activities disseminated in this paper. The funding is provided to further develop the master course in IT and business development in small and medium-sized enterprises offered at the part time education of Master in IT.
Stentoft, J., Philipsen, K., Haug, A. and Wickstrøm, K.A. (2021), "Motivations and challenges with the diffusion of additive manufacturing through a non-profit association", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 841-861. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-04-2020-0125
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