هماهنگی آزمایشگاههای تحقیق و توسعه غیرمتمرکز: تجزیه و تحلیل بررسی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11511||2011||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of International Management, Volume 17, Issue 2, June 2011, Pages 114–129
The growing internationalization and strategic diversity of research and development (R&D) activities create important managerial challenges for the globally competing multinational enterprise (MNE). Driven by recent theoretical considerations and empirical studies, we provide complementary insights to the international management literature by investigating the impact of strategic variables (roles of decentralized R&D units) and some commonly studied FDI characteristics (industry, size and country of origin) on the coordination patterns used in the context of international R&D. As a conceptual background, five categories of coordination mechanisms are generated (structural, formal hierarchical, people-based, social and information technology platform infrastructures). Our findings, based on a quantitative inductive analysis, reveal that laboratory-related characteristics (roles, age and size) stand out as the most influential determinants of coordination mechanisms and instruments. The study also highlights that MNEs are moving towards a more complicated and multifaceted integration pattern of their decentralized technology strategies. Implications for international managers, academic researches and decision makers are discussed.
Early analysis (e.g., Caves, 1971 and Vernon, 1966) of the capability of firms to become multinational enterprises (MNEs) saw sources of innovation as entirely centralised and conceived the only international knowledge-related function as being the transfer to overseas use of centrally generated technologies ( Manolopoulos et al., 2007). Hence, initial perceptions on the internationalization of technology saw no systemic role for decentralised research and development (R&D) activity, but only the limited one of supporting the ability of subsidiaries to adapt parent company technologies to the needs of their market environments (host countries and local conditions). This traditional explanation though, seemed unable to account for the acceleration in the worldwide diffusion of MNEs' elements of knowledge-related competitiveness and the redefined missions of expatriate R&D ( Niosi, 1999). Current work (e.g., Cantwell and Piscitello, 2007 and Marin & Bell, 2006) has recorded a quantitative expansion of MNEs' basic research and industrial R&D activities, which now takes place at a much faster pace and spreads more widely with significant international cross border flows (Criscuolo and Narula, 2007). In addition, it involves more than the effective application of the parent's creative inputs to host environments, including also the generation of other asset-augmenting activities; derived mainly by the need of MNEs to employ distinctive technological competencies from geographically dispersed locations ( Papanastassiou and Pearce, 1999). Three factors underpinning the gradually more advanced positioning of decentralized laboratories can be extracted from the literature. First, the new imperatives of global competition are increasingly related to: (i) original product development rather than mere technological adaptation ( Hansen et al., 2005 and Kuemmerle, 1999), and (ii) the importance of foreign subsidiaries in patenting ( Belderbos, 2003), which will nurture major inventions and innovations for both the local and the world markets ( Niosi, 1999). Second, supply-side influences (the extent to which MNEs may gain a competitive advantage by tapping into foreign located assets and innovation systems, such as highly skilled scientific personnel, proximity to universities, research centres and scientific institutions and access to low cost supply of R&D personnel) comprise another influential factor in determining the scale and scope of foreign R&D ( Criscuolo et al., 2005, Dunning and Lundan, 2009 and von Zedtwitz and Gassmann, 2002). Finally, the centripetal organizational forces that were supposed to secure MNE-specific advantages have now become weaker, mainly due to the improved means of international information and communication technologies ( Gassmann and von Zedtwitz, 1999). For the individual decentralized R&D laboratory, this extended strategic diversity now underpinning its operations significantly increases the physical, financial, informational, knowledge, as well as temporal interdependencies, leading to an upgraded importance and complexity of the coordination function. In spite of the apparent importance of how to coordinate globally dispersed R&D operations, our knowledge on the topic is still neither complete, nor conclusive (Ambos, 2005 and Brockhoff, 1998). While the coordination concerns of R&D internationalized activities have been raised by strands of both an earlier (e.g., Hirshey and Caves, 1981) and a more nascent (e.g., Frost and Zhou, 2005 and Manolopoulos et al., 2007) literature, there are three main deficit areas that have been identified; providing sources of new insights for research: first, while there exist many different instruments for achieving MNE inter-unit vertical integration, we are not aware (with the exception of Reger, 1999) of any systematic, empirical investigation of this wide variety of coordination mechanisms that are suitable for application in the context of international R&D. According to Reger (2004: 56), in most of the relevant studies “…the mechanisms are not explicitly systematized, and, in most cases only a small selection of possible instruments are described or analyzed”. Second, the majority of research undertaken in the field has been done at the level of the parent firm (e.g., Asakawa, 2001 and Belderbos, 2003). In fact, only a very limited number of studies have examined the determinants and characteristics of MNE integration at the subsidiary level (Ghoshal et al., 1994 and Harzing, 2001). However, when research emphasis is placed on the management of MNEs' functional units which are characterized by internal diversity within the network and specialization (notably R&D units), the scholarly importance given to HQs is not quite attenuated, since decisions that impact on potential interdependencies should be better analyzed at the subsidiary level (Doz and Prahalad, 1984). Finally, much of the extant literature in the field is anecdotal, conceptual or limited in focus, in the sense that it mainly draws on qualitative information only (e.g., Reger, 1999 and Asakawa, 2001) and/or empirically explore the influence of only few contingency factors that influence integration and inter-unit coordination (e.g., Martinez and Jarillo, 1989 and Ghoshal et al., 1994). We attempt to address these gaps in the literature by categorizing the coordination instruments identified in the broad international management literature and by providing some systematic, albeit limited, empirical evaluation of the impact of key strategic variables (together with some commonly studied subsidiaries' characteristics) on the coordination mechanisms employed in the context of internationalized MNE R&D activities. Hence, the broad question we address in this research is: What are the suitable mechanisms employed for the coordination of international R&D in MNEs, and what are the relations between these coordination mechanisms and the strategic role of decentralized R&D labs? By surveying these relationships we respond to the recent plea for research focused on the organization and management of global R&D ( Hansen et al., 2005 and Reger, 2004). Two distinctive contributions emerge from our analysis: First, by adopting a quantitative inductive logic, we move away from the straight-jacket of conceiving the research within the boundaries of a deductive hypothesis-driven approach, which limitations are obvious from the scarcity of related literature. This approach enables us to generate a contingency-dependent typology of coordination patterns – modes and mechanisms – and analyze their applicability in integrating decentralized R&D activities. Thus, conceptually, we complement existing integration literature by considering the potential impact of specific coordination instruments that were underexplored in the context of international technology management. Second, by including in our analysis both organizational and strategic variables and adopting the decentralized “subsidiary-focused” perspective – which appears to has gained considerable momentum in the literature recently – we revisit and extend empirical research by providing insights on the following: (i) the prevalence of the “traditional paradigm” of the management of MNEs which assumes tight integration and de-emphasizes subsidiaries' autonomy and influence, and (ii) the explanatory power of contextual and strategic variables in determining coordination patterns within MNEs' technology trajectory. The paper is organized as follows: we first propose the theoretical background and framework for classifying overseas R&D laboratories and coordination mechanisms and generate our research propositions. We then present the research methodology, followed by the evaluation of the coordination patterns of decentralized R&D in the focal country. Next, we present and discuss our empirical results. In the final section we conclude, by positioning our findings into a wider conceptual, managerial and strategic perspective.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Globalization of R&D is a major topic within the business community, as well as for researchers and decision-makers (Gerybadze and Reger, 1999). The broad objective of our study was to investigate what are the suitable mechanisms employed for the coordination of international R&D in MNEs, and what are the relations between these coordination mechanisms and the strategic role of decentralized R&D labs. Grounded on recent developments in international management theory, we developed and analyzed a comprehensive framework with the aim to extend existing knowledge related to MNEs' coordination modes at the level of decentralized R&D activity. In a nutshell, our study provides evidence suggesting that the use of specific coordination instruments is mainly explained by the distinctive roles of expatriate R&D and – to some extent – of functional-level characteristics, whilst factors characterizing the environment of the subsidiary or the country of HQs origin did not have such “predictive quality”. This gives ground to attempts stretching the importance of decentralized labs' strategic mission as an influential force in determining coordination modes (e.g., Nobel and Birkinshaw, 1998 and Asakawa, 2001). We emphasize that while formal hierarchical authority and structural mechanisms comprise efficient solutions for adaptation work, original product development tasks seem more difficult to be managed, since the coordination of LILs requires high levels of intra-firm arrangements and low levels of standardized procedures. No clear integration pattern for the regeneration and reinforcement of the group's core of scientific knowledge through pre-competitive research (IIL role) has emerged from our study. In line with common suggestions, our work reveals that the use of coordination instruments depends also on units' size and years of operation.