Research has indicated that small and medium sized firms (SMEs) play an important role in the growth of the economy. However, in order to be able to compete at an international level, most SMEs are bound to work in alliances in order to gather enough knowledge and resources for product and technology development or to be able to penetrate a larger market. Alliances can be formed with different types of actors (i.e., suppliers, customers, agents, universities, consultancies); in the alliance, information and knowledge are gathered and created. Information is defined as "knowledge that can be transmitted without loss of integrity," which includes facts, axiomatic propositions, and symbols. This knowledge can be categorized as domain-specific, procedural, or general. In the present study, a case approach is used to investigate how different types of information and knowledge generated through distributed product development are integrated into the firm, what methods are used, and some conclusions on what methods are more successful for each type of information or knowledge. Results indicate a very high representation of formal information sharing (document exchange) even if there is a high degree of agreement among the respondents that personal meetings and continuous information sharing would be better if they had a system for this. Therefore, the conclusions should lead to systems that address the above problems.
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