Interorganizational collaboration in the context of introducing new technology

Detta är en avhandling från Lund University

Sammanfattning: This thesis focuses on collaboration in interorganizational implementation processes carried out in temporary organizations. Due to the increased level of collaboration in logistics, interorganizational implementation projects are becoming increasingly important. Consequently, for companies to stay competitive from a logistical point of view, interorganizational relationships need to be addressed. The increasing importance of interorganizational supply chain management is also strengthened in a study presented in current literature. This study is supported by both empirical evidence and literature. However, another extensive literature review concludes that even though the interorganizational perspective is essential, it is overlooked in current logistics and supply chain management literature. The purpose of this thesis is thus to explore interorganizational implementation processes regarding new technologies, in order to identify organizational key factors to be addressed, and propose a qualitative methodology to conduct interorganizational research in the logistics context. The research process is of an explorative nature, following an abductive path. Initially, a conceptual study is conducted, adopting a packaging perspective to investigate a proposed shift of focus from supply to demand management. The study leads to insights regarding how a demand management focus affects operational logistics. Based on these insights, implementation of new technologies in packaging is identified as a suitable area to explore further. To collect empirical evidence in this area an RFID implementation process was identified as a suitable medium. In the process of gaining access to a case study of such an RFID implementation process, further discussions with tutors and representatives from industry resulted in a modified direction. It was realized that the initial interest of this study was unachievable, but the study initiated was found to offer significant and even more interesting data regarding collaborative aspects of the implementation process. Subsequent research is thus conducted using a single case study of implementation of RFID technology in a German retail supply chain. This case study illustrates supply chain collaboration in the context of an interorganizational implementation process regarding a new technology. Within the case study, participant observation is applied as the main method. Based on findings from the single case study, five propositions regarding key factors for a successful implementation process in logistics regarding a new technology are put forward. The case study considers organizational and behavioral complexities which are essential, but underestimated, in much of the supply chain literature available. The thesis also concludes that participant observation is a suitable method for investigating interorganizational relationships in logistics, either as a stand-alone method or as part of a multi-methodological case study. On the basis of experience gained, this research puts forward the advantages, challenges, and uncertainties of conducting interorganizational research in logistics using participant observation. By “hanging out” in organizations, the researcher is able to investigate the essential, but overlooked, interorganizational perspective in logistics. To clarify the value, impact and generalization opportunities of the results obtained, a methodological reflection is presented in the last part of the thesis.

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