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On the Innovative MNC: Leveraging Innovations and the Role of IT systems
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with the phenomena of development and transfer of innovations within multinational corporations (MNCs), and in particular, with the role of information technology (IT) systems in innovation.

The empirical base of the thesis is both qualitative and quantitative. The case studies explore the phenomena of innovation development and transfer, delving more deeply into the use and role of IT systems in the innovation process in MNCs. The quantitative dataset spans a range of industries and captures key aspects, characteristics, and dynamics of the processes of innovation development and transfer at the unit level. Several empirical findings are presented in the five constituent papers. First, concerning innovation development, evidence is provided as to how both internal and external subsidiary’s network relationships are critical for innovation. Moreover, it is demonstrated how external versus internal relationships affect specific dimensions of innovativeness. In other words, internal relationships nurture the importance of the innovation, while external relationships enhance its radicality.

Second, the study of a series of innovation transfer projects indicates that innovation characteristics (i.e. innovation complexity, tacitness, specificity) and integrative mechanisms (i.e. HQ involvement, lateral transfer routines, project groups, IT systems) should be considered together when pursuing innovation transfer. Additionally, using various integrative mechanisms incurs trade-offs between the transfer cost, speed, and level of implementation. In particular, it is found that the use of non-hierarchical structures and rich communication media is preferable, and that direct HQ involvement in transfer projects is detrimental for transfer performance.

Third, specific research efforts devoted to investigating the role of IT systems in both innovation development and transfer phases, cast light on the potential role of IT systems for innovation in MNCs. Evidence demonstrates, first of all, how a specific IT system’s role in innovation development may vary depending on the innovation object, innovation phase, and context. Thus the interdependencies between innovation phase and coordination of IT tools are found to be key issues in managing the overall process. As for innovation transfer, the role of IT systems and their contribution to the process shifts from those of an efficient “transfer” mechanism to those of a “trigger” for knowledge development—an effect of the kind of relation existing between the units involved and the motives driving the system use.

Finally, based on theoretical analysis of the innovation development and transfer process from a business network perspective, specific insights are presented as to the nature and limits of the innovative MNC. The study, which focuses particularly on the impact that innovation development has on the possibilities for inter-unit innovation transfer, leads to the conclusion that knowledge transfer and problem solving are not always either possible or desirable. Furthermore, the relevance of the “local place” for innovation and the “local-to-local” nature of innovation transfer are still so important in today’s global economy as to bring the modern view of the MNC as a transnational organization/differentiated network into question, and to point towards a representation of the MNC as a federation of relatively loosely-coupled entities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Företagsekonomiska institutionen , 2004. , 240 p.
Series
Doctoral thesis / Företagsekonomiska institutionen, Uppsala universitet, ISSN 1103-8454 ; 111
Keyword [en]
Business studies, MNC, innovation development, problem solving, innovation transfer, IT systems
Keyword [sv]
Företagsekonomi
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-4565OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-4565DiVA: diva2:165141
Public defence
2004-10-15, Hörsal 4, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2004-09-22 Created: 2004-09-22 Last updated: 2009-04-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Innovativeness and Problem Solving in the MNC: The Impact of Internal and External Relationships
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Innovativeness and Problem Solving in the MNC: The Impact of Internal and External Relationships
In: Strategic Management JournalArticle in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-92159 (URN)
Available from: 2004-09-22 Created: 2004-09-22 Last updated: 2014-09-08Bibliographically approved
2. IT and innovations in multinationals: experiences from product development at SCA and IKEA
Open this publication in new window or tab >>IT and innovations in multinationals: experiences from product development at SCA and IKEA
2006 (English)In: Managing customer relationships on the Internet / [ed] Angelika Lindstrand, Jan Johanson, Dharma Deo Sharma, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2006, 267-286 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2006
Series
International business and management series, 18
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-92160 (URN)0-08-044124-6 (ISBN)
Available from: 2004-09-22 Created: 2004-09-22 Last updated: 2012-05-10Bibliographically approved
3. Leveraging Innovations in MNCs: The Effect of Transfer Mechanisms and Organizational Structure on Innovation Transfer Performance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Leveraging Innovations in MNCs: The Effect of Transfer Mechanisms and Organizational Structure on Innovation Transfer Performance
In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-92161 (URN)
Available from: 2004-09-22 Created: 2004-09-22 Last updated: 2014-09-08Bibliographically approved
4. IT Systems’ Contribution to Knowledge Sharing in MNC: A Lesson from Siemens AG
Open this publication in new window or tab >>IT Systems’ Contribution to Knowledge Sharing in MNC: A Lesson from Siemens AG
In: Knowledge Management Research & PracticeArticle in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-92162 (URN)
Available from: 2004-09-22 Created: 2004-09-22 Last updated: 2014-09-08Bibliographically approved
5. Development and Transfer of Innovations in MNCs: The “Local for Local” Imperative
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development and Transfer of Innovations in MNCs: The “Local for Local” Imperative
2006 (English)In: Space and Development: The Role of Places in the World of Science, Technology and Business, Göteborg: Gidlunds förlag, 2006Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Gidlunds förlag, 2006
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-92163 (URN)
Available from: 2004-09-22 Created: 2004-09-22 Last updated: 2013-05-29Bibliographically approved

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