Disseminative Capabilities: A Case Study of Collaborative Product Development in the Automotive Industry
At first glance, the two topics - knowledge transfer and product development processes in the automotive industry - seem to have received abundant research attention and coverage over the last two decades. Can anything new, relevant, and interesting be discovered? Oppat proves that this is not only possible but that it even can be exciting. Knowledge transfer has indeed been investigated thoroughly. Nevertheless the attention has been primarily on the success factors of the transfer process. In his work, the author focuses on the front-end part, i. e. on the input to the process. In dozens of interviews and ca- ful observations Oppat determines the effects of the sender, the disseminative capabi- ties. These capabilities prove to be of importance for the receiving, the absorptive part of the transfer chain. What makes it exciting to follow this research work is the combination of these rather theoretical and abstract ideas with a truly interesting and little known aspect of the - tomobile industry. The cases do not deal with “normal” supplier – OEM relations but with a much more intricate pattern of collaboration. It is the “outsourcing of the integral value chain”, from the development process of a car model all the way to the manufacturing and even the distribution, which is investigated. The fun of reading and following these thoughts is enhanced by fluent writing and smart illustrations. Prof. Fritz Fahrni, PhD Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and University of St.
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