Organizing Technology Planning - A contingent approach
Sammanfattning: This dissertation concerns the introduction of market/business requirements early in the R&D processes, with special focus on the organizational aspects of planning for those early phases. Companies like Motorola, Volvo, and Philips Electronics have made efforts to improve the communication needed for such planning, as they recognize the potential danger of not having enough market information in early R&D stages when many important business decisions are made, or of lacking the required technical competence when creating market plans.To facilitate this communication, an area of research has arisen during the last two decades which aims at an operative planning approach to ensuring early communication between Technology Development and Marketing. The term Technology Planning has here been chosen as a collective name for this approach. The research until now in the area is, however, weak regarding a number of organizational aspects ? for example the organizational position of the activity and the formulation of its goals, which are key determinants of the possibilities to carry out Technology Planning in practice. The research strategy chosen in this dissertation is based on a multiple-case comparison, with three business units from Volvo Aero Corporation and one business unit at Ericsson Communication Systems as cases. Data have been collected through both a questionnaire and approximately 100 interviews. The major findings presented concern, firstly, identification and analysis of situational parameters to which the Technology Planning activity must be adapted, the effects of the organizational type in which the Technology Planning activity is done, the effects of different levels of complexity in the environment on Technology Planning, and the effects of differences in level of priority given to the activity. The second part of the findings specifies the adaptations which can be made to match the activity to the situational differences. Among the main topics discussed are were the activity should be placed in the organization, the need for decentralization and creation of hierarchy in environments with high complexity, and the balancing of formal versus informal communication structures between communicating parties.
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