Managing discontinuous changes in complex products : Cases involving the development and market introduction of heavy hybrid-electric buses
Sammanfattning: This is a study about managing the development of discontinuous changes in complex products characterised by integration of a significant amount of new technologies and firms’ existing technologies and market introduction of such products. In particular, this study analyses how firms’ technology selections influence the conditions for the firms to manage such development and market introduction. Empirically, the purpose is to investigate how leading firms in the heavy vehicle industry struggle in managing the challenges related to the development and market introduction of heavy hybrid-electric buses. This thesis involves a study of two sets of comparative, longitudinal, real-time cases. The first set is used for analysing the development of heavy hybrid-electric buses at Scania and Volvo. The second set is used for analysing the market introduction of Volvo’s and BAE Systems’ heavy hybrid-electric buses.The findings of this study demonstrate the importance for firms to closely manage several aspects of the development of discontinuous changes in complex products and market introduction of such complex products. This study shows the criticality and the implications of firms’ technology selections particularly related to where in the product structure the technological changes occur (loci of technological change), types of technological change, types of product architecture, and degrees of technology and application novelties. It is in this study demonstrated that firms’ technology selections influence the conditions for the firms to manage such development, in particular regarding to in-house knowledge development, supplier collaboration and types of NPD organisations. It is also shown that firms’ technology selections affect the firms’ possibilities to offer various performance attributes to the market. Furthermore, this study shows that firms’ technology selections influence the firms’ market strategies when introducing such complex products to the markets.Theoretically, this study contributes to the literature on discontinuous innovations. The contributions are on managing the development of typical discontinuous innovations that involve integration of a significant amount of new technologies and firms’ existing technologies, and managing market introduction of such innovations. This thesis integrates streams of literatures related to both development and market introduction of discontinuous innovations, which in previous studies are seldom treated together and linked. It provides an integrated knowledge based framework to help us understand how firms manage the development and market introduction of such typical discontinuus innovations. It also provides empirical evidence along the areas related to the theoretical contribution. In particular, it provides contribution concerning such development and market introduction in the heavy vehicle industry. Research in the field of the management of innovation related to the heavy vehicle industry is less observed.
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