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Managing technological open process innovation - An empirical lifecycle perspective on the management of external contributions to process development and implementation in large manufacturing companies

Milewski, Simon (2015) Managing technological open process innovation - An empirical lifecycle perspective on the management of external contributions to process development and implementation in large manufacturing companies. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

It is well documented that large manufacturing companies often draw on external knowledge and technology for process innovation. Yet, the management of knowledge and technology transfer at different stages of the innovation lifecycle has received very little scholarly attention. Previous studies in this domain only focus on buyer-supplier interaction for technology development. As a result, theory on open process innovation remains significantly underdeveloped regarding external contributions to aspects of process innovation other than technological change and by different types of external partners. This also entails a lack of discussion on openness (search breadth and depth) and the deployment of absorptive capabilities at the lifecycle stage level. The present thesis addresses these gaps through an exploratory, multiple case-study of five large manufacturing companies operating in different industries in Germany. The study develops a conceptual framework to identify key categories of inquiry and uses cross-case analysis to enable the development of four theoretical constructs that capture central mechanisms of open process innovation. Specifically, the study identifies different forms of external contributions to technological change involving different configurations of openness. The findings suggest that the motivation for interaction, the relevance of knowledge protection, and the availability of external information at any given stage determine a company’s openness and therefore which contribution it obtains at that stage. In this context the study identifies different patterns for the development of enabling and core processes. Furthermore, the thesis uncovers mechanisms of indirect external contributions to organizational change and systemic impact management, which are particularly relevant when external partners lack sufficient organizational insight or internal acceptance to provide direct contributions. By investigating a broader range of external partners than previous studies the thesis also emphasizes the importance of methodological guidance by management consultants during early stages of projects with a broad scope. Linking the findings to the literature on absorptive capacity the thesis argues that it is a central managerial task to dynamically adjust the practices underlying absorptive capabilities from conceptual process planning to practical adaptation and integration efforts in order to obtain external contributions to process development and implementation. By accounting for various determinants of process innovation and open innovation, as well as the deployment of absorptive capabilities at different lifecycle stages the constructs presented in this thesis enable a more granular perspective on open process innovation than previous literature has offered and lead to several recommendations for managerial practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > The York Management School
Depositing User: Simon Milewski
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 15:54
Last Modified: 29 May 2017 00:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9058

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