بررسی رابطه بین شیوه های مدیریت و تکنولوژی طراحی با کمک کامپیوتر
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|13138||2001||27 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 19, Issue 3, May 2001, Pages 307–333
Technology has been the engine of growth for the United States economy over the last decade, and it is reasonable to expect that appropriate selection and management of technology within the firm would continue to be highly critical to its success well into the future. Operations managers constantly struggle to seek answers to the right set of managerial actions that can be used to leverage technology for process effectiveness. This study takes a step in that direction by empirically examining the management of computer aided design (CAD) technology and outcomes of the product design process within manufacturing firms. In particular, the level of functionality and sophistication of the CAD system are examined with respect to the use of several structural and infrastructural management levers such as the degree of a firm’s formalization and decentralization, the extent of the use of teams, the extent of training of CAD designers, and the equity of the incentives within the product design process. The influence of these management levers upon the CAD system performance is analyzed through the use of moderated regression analysis conducted on a cross-sectional data of 143 firms representing the vehicular industry in the USA. Our findings indicate that CAD functionality and sophistication are positively related to product design quality, flexibility, and overall performance. The impact of management levers on this relationship is a mixed one. Decentralization has no impact on the CAD technology–performance relationship, formalization has some positive effects, and the use of teams is helpful only in moderating the influence of sophistication on overall performance. Equity of incentives enhances design quality, while training is very important in improving performance across the board. In general, sophisticated “state of the art” CAD systems require much more proactive management than highly functional ones. Recommendations emerging from this study hopefully provide insights into a better management of not only CAD systems, but other process level technologies as well that are relevant to firms in the manufacturing sector. We also discuss implications of technology management provided by this research for creating leading edge enterprises.
In order to compete well in world markets, organizations have been forced to reengineer, empower employees, get lean, and become increasingly flexible while maintaining low prices. The paradigm for competing is no longer the simple dichotomy of low price-high volume or high price-customized products. Customers demand high quality products that are delivered on time in small lots with the capability for frequent engineering changes on short notice. Yet, the intense competition in a worldwide marketplace simultaneously mandates low prices. One way to achieve so many different objectives, which at times conflict with one another, may be to effectively use technological advances. Thus learning to manage technology has become an extremely important issue for both practitioners and academics alike as we move into the next millenium. This study is focussed on examining these issues within the context of computer aided design (CAD) technology, and its effective deployment within manufacturing firms in the US. In general, firms have been looking for ways to get the most out of their current technology and thereby sustain their competitive advantage. Many manufacturing related technologies such as CAD, computer aided manufacturing (CAM), flexible manufacturing systems (FMS), and computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) have been acquired and implemented. Unfortunately, with reports of insignificant flexibility or productivity gained through their adoption and implementation (O’Leary-Kelly and Vokurka, 1998, Grant et al., 1991, Meredith and Hill, 1987 and Jaikumar, 1986), the benefits of these technologies have not been commensurable with their large investments. Since it has been discovered that installing new technologies in USA has not always insured improved performance, better management practices that can leverage investments in technology and provide a competitive advantage need to be examined. It has been shown that in many cases the application of new technologies to replace existing manual or mechanical systems yield meager performance improvements (Benjamin and Levinson, 1993, Schnitt, 1993 and Jaikumar, 1986). The design of jobs, social structure, and organizational infrastructure often need to be changed significantly to fully exploit the capabilities of the new technology (Shani et al., 1992, Grant et al., 1991 and Hayes and Jaikumar, 1988). Yet, research shows that these infrastructural and social changes are often overlooked (MacDuffie and Fisher, 1996, Maffei and Meredith, 1995 and Meredith, 1987). Management within manufacturing firms has begun to recognize this balance within the firm. The work force or human issues have been shown to be important, and have significant impact on strategic success (Boyer et al., 1997, Malhotra et al., 1996, Kelley, 1994, Hayes and Jaikumar, 1988, De Meyer and Ferdows, 1987 and Fine and Hax, 1985). In two recent studies, the organization structure and use of human resources in manufacturing firms were found to be stronger contributors to flexibility than the technology itself (Upton, 1995 and Zammuto and O’Connor, 1992). Firms are thus reorganizing to become decentralized, democratic organizations, where versatility and continuous change are the goals (Pasmore, 1995, Kelley, 1994 and Ferdows and Skinner, 1986). If a firm can address all organizational elements and keep them in balance, it will potentially develop a distinctive competence that can set it apart from its competition. This study has been motivated by two major limitations in prior work. First, although several models testing the impact of management levers on performance have been presented in the management literature, few of these technology models examine the impact of individual management levers upon the performance of the technology. Often, the researchers examine clusters of policies that commonly are found together, using constructs such as ‘control’ versus ‘commitment’ human resource systems (Arthur, 1994), ‘progressive’ human resource management (Delaney and Huselid, 1996), worker empowerment (Boyer et al., 1997), ‘human capital enhancing systems’ (Youndt et al., 1996), ‘lean production policies’ (MacDuffie and Fisher, 1996), and ‘management committees’ (Kelley, 1994) on technology performance. These levers are unique combinations of variables that fit the specific situation addressed by the researcher. This combination of variables, while providing a concept that is understandable and aesthetically appealing, does not provide an understanding of the individual impact of each variable. This limits the generalizability of the findings. The second motivating factor for this study is that in general there has been a lack of research in manufacturing at the process level. Technology research has generally focused at the individual operator level (Swamidass and Kotha, 1998, Robertson and Allen, 1993 and Collins and King, 1988), or at the organizational level with plant-based or strategic business unit (SBU) level-based performance measures (Boyer et al., 1997 and Miller and Roth, 1994). The technology–process level is positioned in between the individual and organizational level. Technological systems often overlap several business processes, but in many cases, their major impact is on one specific business process. By making observations at this level, the results are not as diluted as they would be at the organizational level, where many other factors can impact performance. Yet they are much more global and generalizable than observations at the individual levels. It is thus the intention of this research to use a technology–process experimental unit. Since technologies are implemented and evaluated at the process level, empirical work needs to be focused there. This research will build upon the preliminary work by Collins and King (1988), whereby the influence of individual management levers will be examined. Both the task and social aspects will be explored here as distinctly different from technology, but equably important and collectively necessary to achieve performance. We will also examine a specific manufacturing related technology in detail. Thus by controlling for the variations in the process and examining five individual management practices, we hope that this research will contribute to our understanding of the role of technology in the workplace. We first motivate the selection of the CAD technology for this study before presenting the research framework and model. Subsequently, we present theoretical foundations that form the basis of hypotheses represented in the research model. This is followed by the description of the survey-based methodology used for large-scale data collection. The next section thereafter provides a discussion of results and major findings. We finally conclude with a set of managerial recommendations and directions for future work in this area.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
8.1. Management implications The results of this cross-sectional study of vehicular firms using CAD systems provides some insight into the performance goals of the product design process, the effectiveness of the CAD system in attaining those goals, and the impact of five management levers on this relationship. The general findings of the primary models support the first part of this proposition, that technology functionality and sophistication significantly impact the effectiveness of CAD in attaining quality, flexibility, and overall process goals. The largest level of explained variation was between functionality and overall performance of the product design process at 38.5%. This is strong evidence that CAD systems with extensive features go a long way in helping the designers achieve their performance goals and create a competitive advantage in the product design process. There were mixed results with respect to the influences of management levers on the CAD technology–performance relationship. Training helps in generally improving performance under a wide range of conditions. Overall performance for functional CAD systems is little affected by the use of management levers, perhaps because the purchase of the system with high functionality itself allows most of the benefits to be realized. Such is not the case with sophisticated CAD systems, where management levers play a more important role. Increased levels of formalization and use of teams improves overall performance of sophisticated CAD systems, while incentives have a mixed effect of increasing design quality and flexibility but not overall performance. Thus sophisticated systems have to be more proactively managed by retaining competent employees through competitive wage packages, increasing levels of formalization through increased rules and procedures, and providing opportunities for them to work and exchange ideas in team settings. Increased performance will otherwise not come from merely acquiring ‘state of the art’ CAD systems. 8.2. Theoretical implications As expected, this research provides support for the ‘fit’ notion, which essentially posits that for any technology to be effective, a balance is needed between technology attributes and structural and infrastructural dimensions of the firm. Other researchers have proposed the notion of fit between technology, task and the individual and have found that ‘fit’ helps explain performance (Goodhue, 1998, Huselid, 1995 and David et al., 1989). Differential impact of various management levers examined in our study was dependent on the level of ‘fit’ between these variables and technology attributes such as functionality and sophistication. As firms develop their individual distinctive competencies that set them apart from others, it is essential that they learn to balance the characteristics of their dominant technologies with the firm’s organizational structure and social system. This research differs from other technology research in that it provides the process level perspective which demonstrated that management levers will vary according to the technology attributes that are prevalent in the process. This provides a rich foundation of knowledge for process management and theory development at the technology–process level. It is a step toward defining the ‘black box’ that is labeled as technology, and how its features can be managed more effectively by measuring performance at the technology–process level. 8.3. Limitations While our study provides valuable guidelines for the management of the CAD technology and contributes to the theory of fit between technology and its management, its results must be interpreted with caution and in the context in which the study was conducted. As with any study of its kind, only cross-sectional data was collected, thereby precluding any interpretation of the temporal effects of managing technologies. Even though several of the variables were found to be significant, low R2 values in some cases suggests that other variables of practical and theoretical interest may exist within this context, but which were not modeled in this study. Finally, our recommendations hold in general for managing CAD systems, and their validity for other manufacturing related technologies must be independently affirmed through additional studies. 8.4. Recommendations for further study We have shown that effectiveness of the technological system can be studied at the process level. Our technology effectiveness model (TEM) provides a starting point in this inquiry. Hopefully, other researchers will use the structure and results of this study to extend our knowledge of technology management into other areas as well. Additional measures of process effectiveness need to be rigorously developed, since that would represent a major contribution to the field. In addition, attitudes of the user about the technology have been theorized to impact job satisfaction, commitment, morale, job turnover, and perhaps ultimately performance (Dow et al., 1999, Goodhue, 1998, Campion and McClelland, 1991 and Saleh et al., 1990). The human side of the equation is an important one and cannot be overlooked. These factors should be incorporated into the technology effectiveness model for future testing in the manufacturing domain. Only then can we begin to holistically understand how better utilization of human capital, organizational structures, and the technological system can occur. 8.5. Some concluding thoughts While we created the theoretical foundations for studying the impact of any technology at the process level, the selection of the CAD technology as a focus of this study was highly appropriate since its use and technological importance is growing. Worldwide user spending on CAD and related technologies such as CAD and CAM has grown to US$ 6.2 billion in 1999, an increase of almost 17% over 1998 (CAE, 1999). This technology’s effectiveness continues to improve with advancements in information technology, thereby allowing the CAD systems to accomplish more in shorter time periods. This has led to significant reductions in product development cycle times. Through increased responsiveness to customer needs, firms are able to maintain a competitive advantage. Correspondingly, what we have learned in this research about the management of CAD technology will improve CAD’s impact on the product development process. Firms can also potentially benefit from the enhanced understanding of the management of technology that this research provides, and in turn lead to world class organizations that define the standards of excellence well into the next millenium.