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A holistic model for inter-plant knowledge transfer within an international manufacturing network
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4059-3077
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1224-792X
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.
(English)In: Journal of Knowledge Management, ISSN 1367-3270, E-ISSN 1758-7484Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

Purpose: This paper aims to provide a holistic view to support the choice of appropriate strategy for conducting a knowledge transfer (KT) project in an international manufacturing network(IMN) environment. It proposes a model that includes multiple aspects of a KT project along with guidelines on each aspect. Design/methodology/approach: To achieve the research goals, multiple case study method was adopted. Data have been collected by conducting semi-structured interviews regarding five KT projects in three multinational corporations. Data were triangulated by means of comparisons to complementary data acquired through observations and archival documents. Findings: The results of this paper detail the key issues of five KT projects. Furthermore, the paper proposes an aggregated model comprising the main aspects and strategies for a KT project within an IMN. Research limitations/implications: Despite the abundant research on KT area, not many research projects provide holistic views on KT process. The focus has rather been sectional and concentrated on each specific aspect within the KT. Practical implications: The paper guides practitioners to identify multiple aspects in KT that will eventually increase the odds for successfully performing such projects. Originality/value: The proposed learning network model improves the performance of KT projects by providing a holistic view including several factors that the organization should emphasize to succeed with inter-plant KT.

Keywords [en]
Knowledge driven organizations, Knowledge management, Knowledge transfer, Engineering, International manufacturing network
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-40872DOI: 10.1108/JKM-10-2017-0473Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85047880399OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-40872DiVA, id: diva2:1247117
Projects
INNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing developmentAvailable from: 2018-09-11 Created: 2018-09-11 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Coordination of international manufacturing networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coordination of international manufacturing networks
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Due to globalisation, many companies have established or acquired production plants worldwide in order to capture the market opportunities that lay beyond their national borders. This has resulted in the emergence of international manufacturing networks (IMNs), which consist of multiple, interdependent production plants with different characteristics within a single organisation.

Coordination of such networks consisting of multiple plants in different countries is not a simple management task. That is why some companies struggle with it, and turn their global production into a function that hinders their agility and performance; while others turn it into a formidable advantage. Coordination of an IMN requires a company to link and integrate its plants to support its strategic business objectives. A proficient coordination of activities, across multiple plants of an international manufacturing company, leads to competitive advantages.

Despite its significance, the coordination aspect of IMN management has not been studied sufficiently. Operations leaders in today’s complex manufacturing world require a common language, tailored tools and frameworks for the management of their network. The research area of international manufacturing lacks empirical evidence of how industrial companies are (or could be) coordinated. Therefore, the overall aim of this research is to develop knowledge that improves the coordination of an IMN.

The data in this study were acquired from case studies carried out on the IMNs of four global manufacturing companies where the majority of data was gathered from a global contract manufacturer headquartered in Sweden. The findings reveal a set of challenges, which influence the coordination of an IMN as one of the main aspects of its management.

In order to improve IMN coordination, a framework has been developed from the results of the studies performed in this research project, as well as the results of previous research related to IMN management. It is composed of two distinctive parts: (1) preparatory steps, and (2) executional mechanisms.

The first part of the framework discusses, and provides an insight into, the strategic relevance of coordination, the establishment of an autonomy balance among plants in an IMN, and mapping an IMN. The second part of the framework contains three mechanisms for conducting coordination in an IMN.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2018
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 279
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41243 (URN)978-91-7485-413-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-12-10, Filharmonin, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-10-29 Created: 2018-10-29 Last updated: 2018-11-16Bibliographically approved

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Norouzilame, FarhadSjögren, Peter

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