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Article
Publication date: 13 October 2020

Viktoria Sundquist and Lisa Melander

This paper aims to investigate how various organizational interfaces between firms, units and functions, and the interplay between them, are developed and mobilized in…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate how various organizational interfaces between firms, units and functions, and the interplay between them, are developed and mobilized in product development processes.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretical framework is based on the industrial network approach, including interactive resource development and the concept of organizational interfaces. A single case study is conducted at a world-leading industrial tool manufacturer, illustrating how resources are combined over time, crossing boundaries of firms, units and functions in the development of a hand-held digitalized tool for quality assurance in the production of cars. Data have been collected through semi-structured interviews, with additional data in the form of project reports, internal documents and practices for external collaboration.

Findings

In addition to inter-organizational interfaces, the study identifies a typology of scouting, embarking and integration interfaces at unit level (geographically spread units of one multinational corporation) and interpretation and reciprocal interfaces at function level. The conclusions show that these interfaces affect the outcome of three aspects of the product development process: product characteristics and functionality features, system integration and organizational network extent. Existing interfaces serve as a platform for developing interaction further and provide the interfaces with new content, thus moving between different types of interfaces. Product development processes also involve new interfaces where there was no previous interaction between the parties.

Research limitations/implications

This research has implications for the interplay between interfaces in cases involving multiple external and internal actors in resource combining efforts.

Practical implications

External interactions between firms influence and impact internal activities and resources. Managers need to be aware of the complex interdependencies between external and internal interfaces and resources. Managing organizational interfaces is about both exploiting established interfaces and developing new ones. Consequently, existing interfaces may be activated differently to align with new interaction purposes, which, in turn, requires efforts to combine resources according to the new conditions.

Originality/value

Previous research contains a typology of organizational interfaces between customers and suppliers. The study expands on this research by identifying internal interfaces between units and functions.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 26 January 2021

Lisa Melander and Ala Arvidsson

The purpose of this study is to investigate the sales-, rental- and sharing-focused business models for industrial markets by analysing interactions and environmental…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the sales-, rental- and sharing-focused business models for industrial markets by analysing interactions and environmental sustainability efforts within them.

Design/methodology/approach

Case studies are conducted at two world-leading manufacturing firms of complex industrial products. The analysis compares how interaction takes place in sales-, rental- and sharing-focused business models in industrial markets for high-technology products in connection with environmental sustainability outcomes.

Findings

The findings show the need for different interaction patterns in sales-, rental- and sharing-focused business models at firm, relationship and network levels. The implementation of sharing-focussed business models requires new interactions with actors within firms, between firms and key collaborators and in networks. The firms in our study have made a wide range of efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of their products. Sharing-focused business models have the potential to be environmentally sustainable if products can be shared among customers. However, under-usage of products and the increased need to transport them may reduce environmental sustainability.

Originality/value

This study reveals that although manufacturing firms and customers are willing to implement sharing-focused business models, there are obstacles to achieving the expected environmental sustainability associated with this business model. These are due to the high-technology nature and level of customisation of the associated firms’ products and services, which make it difficult to share resources across firms without advanced adaptations to products such as re-programming. This study contributes to the sharing-focused business model literature for the business-to-business context, by pointing to the pivotal role partnerships with new actors and closer collaboration with existing actors in supply chains can play in enabling sharing-focused business models in the future.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2019

Frida Lind and Lisa Melander

The purpose of this paper is to investigate supplier interfaces in technological development.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate supplier interfaces in technological development.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretical framework is based on the industrial network approach and, in particular, the concept of supplier interfaces (standardized, specified, translational and interactive). The empirical study consists of a case study of a supplier relationship between an established truck manufacturer and one of its partners in technological development. This supplier relationship has its base in joint projects on developments in automation.

Findings

The empirical study provides evidence of three types of interfaces that are characteristic of technological development and discusses their development and how they are used in combination. The three types are follows: specified, translational and interactive. The conclusions show that developing an interface from specified to translational or interactive is challenging and technological development characterized by uncertainty may call for certain interfaces that are not of value in other settings, such as industrial production.

Originality/value

By applying the interface concepts to technological development in collaboration with suppliers and related identifying characteristic interfaces, this paper aims to extend the literature on how suppliers can be engaged in uncertain endeavours such as development projects.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 11 September 2017

David T. Rosell, Nicolette Lakemond and Lisa Melander

The purpose of this paper is to explore and characterize knowledge integration approaches for integrating external knowledge of suppliers into new product development projects.

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3547

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore and characterize knowledge integration approaches for integrating external knowledge of suppliers into new product development projects.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on a multiple, in-depth case study of six product development projects at three knowledge-intensive manufacturing firms.

Findings

Firms make purposeful choices to devise knowledge integration approaches when working in collaborative buyer – supplier projects. The knowledge characteristics of the supplier input guide the choice of either coupling knowledge sharing and combining across firms or decoupling knowledge sharing (across firms) and knowledge combining (within firms).

Research limitations/implications

This study relies on a limited number of case studies and considers only one supplier relationship in each project. Further studies could examine the challenge of knowledge integration in buyer – supplier relationships in different contexts, i.e. in relation to innovation complexity and uncertainty.

Practical implications

Managers need to make choices when designing knowledge integration approaches in collaborative product development projects. The use of coupled and decoupled approaches can help balance requirements in terms of joint problem-solving across firms, the efficiency of knowledge integration and the risks of knowledge leakage.

Originality/value

The conceptualization of knowledge integration as knowledge sharing and knowledge combining extends existing perspectives on knowledge integration as either a transfer of knowledge or as revealing the presence of pertinent knowledge without entirely transmitting it. The findings point to the complexity of knowledge integration as a process influenced by knowledge characteristics, perspectives on knowledge, openness of firm boundaries and elements of knowledge sharing and combining.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 21 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2019

Lisa Melander and Ala Pazirandeh

This paper aims to explore the how, why, who and what of collaborations in green innovation.

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1080

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the how, why, who and what of collaborations in green innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on 11 case studies conducted at high-technological firms where 30 top management representatives were interviewed.

Findings

The study shows that firms share knowledge on green innovation across industries through horizontal collaborations and their extended network, such as their suppliers’ and customer’s networks in other industries. The results also show that digitalization, connectivity and big data are considered important vessels to improve environmental sustainability, as firms believe that these technologies will result in large gains related to resource utilization. Finally, the firms in this study engaged to a wide extent in green innovation activities, which resulted in a variety of improved resource utilization related to energy efficiency, new materials, new technologies, limiting emissions and recycle management.

Research limitations/implications

The paper contributes to the literature by showing that firms share knowledge on green innovation not only within their network but also across industries through horizontal collaborations and their extended network.

Practical implications

The study points to the complexity of collaborating on green innovation. The authors show the importance of digitalization to improving environmental sustainability, with managers needing to develop business models and finding collaboration partners that can facilitate the transformation towards more connected products and services.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the field of supply network collaboration by studying how firms collaborate to improve environmental sustainability.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 13 May 2019

Lisa Melander and Fredrik Tell

The purpose of this paper is to analyze coordination mechanisms in buyer-supplier collaborations in new product development (NPD) and the influence of conflicts of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze coordination mechanisms in buyer-supplier collaborations in new product development (NPD) and the influence of conflicts of interest. Inter- and intra-organizational coordination mechanisms are investigated.

Design/methodology/approach

The findings reported are based on a multiple case study consisting of four cases at two firms. Theoretical sampling consisted in selecting two projects with opposite levels of conflicts of interest between the collaborating firms. In total, 38 interviews were conducted with employees in buying and supplying firms.

Findings

The findings illustrate how inter-firm conflicts of interest affect the way firms coordinate both externally and internally. A high level of conflicts of interest related to information leakage emanated in more distant relationships with limited coordination between buyer and supplier. This restrictive relationship is also reflected in limited coordination between the buyer’s purchasing and research and development (R&D) units.

Research limitations/implications

Generalizability is limited, as only two large industrial firms have been studied, but with four projects investigated in detail. The study shows that in situations, in which there is a conflict of interest, external coordination affects the firms’ internal coordination. Conflicts of interest in buyer-supplier NPD collaborations are managed by limiting information sharing, which is reflected in the way R&D and purchasing are coordinated.

Practical implications

Managers need to be aware of that a firm’s fear of sharing information with its supplier can also transfer to intra-firm unit coordination, as R&D may limit its information sharing with purchasing. On the other hand, in buyer-supplier collaborations with little conflict of interest, firms can form close relationships. Such a close relationship is also mirrored in how R&D and purchasing openly share information and coordinate.

Originality/value

This research contributes to an increased understanding of coordination in buyer-supplier innovation collaboration. Firms not only need to consider their external coordination but also how coordination with suppliers may affect the way they coordinate in NPD projects within the firm between purchasing and R&D.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2019

Lisa Melander

Being innovative and bringing new products to the market fast is important for firms to stay competitive. Customers are important for providing input to product…

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1304

Abstract

Purpose

Being innovative and bringing new products to the market fast is important for firms to stay competitive. Customers are important for providing input to product developments in industrial markets. The purpose of this paper is to increase understanding of how firms use Voice of the Customer (VoC) in product development and how VoC can complement other customer involvement methods.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a qualitative case study of a global leading and innovative firm, a maker of tools for the automotive industry. The study provides detailed insight into the implementation of VoC for product development.

Findings

The process of customer involvement in product development through VoC is explored. The study shows that by using the VoC method, firms can gather knowledge for input to product development projects while developing relationships with a larger number of customers. The findings point out that VoC can be modified to focus on customer needs related to product development as well as marketing efforts requiring cross-functional collaboration. The VoC method is suitable for combining with other customer involvement methods such as project involvement and pilot testing. Through VoC, firms have the chance to benchmark across industries and regions.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides insights into the VoC process of customer involvement aimed at product development. The case study provides an illustration of how an industrial firm uses VoC in product development. The paper points out the importance of managing external (customer) involvement in product development and internal (cross-functional) collaborations.

Practical implications

A set of questions that firms can ask themselves before embarking on customer involvement has been developed. The paper shows that customers can be involved at a number of points in time, have a wide range of roles and contribute different knowledge. VoC is suitable for combining with other customer involvement methods.

Originality/value

The contribution of the paper consists of a case study illustrating how customer involvement in product development can be achieved through VoC. A number of customer involvement methods for product development are discussed for combining with VoC, showing how different methods are complementary in product development.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2020

Lisa Melander and Ala Pazirandeh Arvidsson

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how a seller can use interactions to respond to public procurement needs for innovation when the buying side is restricted by…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how a seller can use interactions to respond to public procurement needs for innovation when the buying side is restricted by public procurement regulations.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collected data using qualitative semi-structured interviews of different empirical examples, in which private–public interactions of four different high-technological products are studied. Two products belong to the defence industry and two to the civil industry.

Findings

The findings point to three types of innovations in public procurement: product, service and business model. The empirical examples further indicate, as suggested in previous studies, that innovation is hindered by regulations that limit interaction between suppliers and the public. In addition, the empirical examples indicate that firms mobilize actors in their network when the buyer is restricted in regard to interaction. The findings also add to the IMP literature by comparing interactions in the three types of innovations in the public procurement context.

Originality/value

Public procurement is an area where innovations are lagging behind, compared with private procurement. Research points to limited interaction between actors as an obstacle to innovation in public sector collaborations. This paper extends the literature on how organizations interact in the setting of public procurement. The authors identify demand and supply triggers for three types of innovations: product, service and business model innovation.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 35 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Open Access
Book part
Publication date: 4 June 2021

Alison J. Marganski and Lisa A. Melander

While research on digital dangers has been growing, studies on their respective solutions and justice responses have not kept pace. The agathokakological nature of…

Abstract

While research on digital dangers has been growing, studies on their respective solutions and justice responses have not kept pace. The agathokakological nature of technology demands that we pay attention to not only harms associated with interconnectivity, but also the potential for technology to counter offenses and “do good.” This chapter discusses technology as both a weapon and a shield when it comes to violence against women and girls in public spaces and private places. First, we review the complex and varied manifestations of technological gender violence, ranging from the use of technology to exploit, harass, stalk, and otherwise harm women and girls in communal spaces, to offenses that occur behind closed doors. Second, we discuss justice-related responses, underscoring how women and girls have “flipped the script” when their needs are not met. By developing innovative ways to respond to the wrongs committed against them and creating alternate systems that offer a voice, victims/survivors have repurposed technology to redress harms and unite in solidarity with others in an ongoing quest for justice.

Details

The Emerald International Handbook of Technology-Facilitated Violence and Abuse
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-849-2

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Lisa Melander, David Rosell and Nicolette Lakemond

– The purpose of this paper is to explore the dynamics of management and control in collaborations with suppliers of critical technology.

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1103

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the dynamics of management and control in collaborations with suppliers of critical technology.

Design/methodology/approach

Three collaborative product development projects at a system integrator in the telecom industry were studied. The data was collected through 22 semi-structured interviews and a workshop at the studied company and its suppliers.

Findings

The paper shows that in situations of high dependence on suppliers of critical technologies, control may be pursued by complementing black-box development with appropriate checks and balances in the collaboration, i.e. using combinations of control mechanisms, disconnected development and joint problem solving, contracts and trust, and alignment efforts on project and strategic levels. Further, the paper demonstrates that this involves several trade-offs related to the advantages of increased monitoring and disadvantages of decreased levels of freedom for the supplier and consequently decreased prerequisites for supplier creativity.

Research limitations/implications

The qualitative approach of the research limits generalizability. Our study is limited to three projects at one firm.

Practical implications

Technological roadmaps can be used as an important tool to facilitate alignment with suppliers of critical technologies. Limited influence on project level can be supported by influencing the supplier on a strategic level. By collaborating on a strategic level, firms can gain alignment for future projects and diminish the need for direct project control within the projects. Long-term collaborations facilitate control in projects with powerful suppliers of critical technologies.

Originality/value

While many studies suggest simplified responses to complex situations of supplier involvement in product development, this study provides insight into the complex responses to control suppliers of critical technologies.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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