تاثیر و مدیریت شکاف شناختی در سازمان های توسعه محصول با کارایی بالا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2707||2006||24 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Volume 23, Issue 4, December 2006, Pages 313–336
The close alignment of applied research and development units with manufacturing operational structures can provide excellent opportunities for maintaining robust product pipelines and reducing product development cycle times. Within such an integrated organizational model (IOM), however, lies a potentially disruptive psychological mechanism that can lead to the dissolution of this delicate partnership if it is not handled properly. This mechanism is cognitive gap, which can take several basic forms: first, as differences between the nature and difficulty of the problem at hand and the cognitive resources of the problem solvers tasked with its solution; and second, as differences between the cognitive abilities and approaches of the problem solvers themselves. In this paper, we define and discuss cognitive gap within the context of Kirton's Adaption-Innovation theory, a useful framework for understanding problem solving (and problem solvers) in general. Specific implications (both favourable and potentially destructive) of cognitive gaps for high performance product development organizations are discussed, and suggestions for their effective management are offered.
At a fundamental level, the competitive advantage of a company can be linked to two key factors: (i) the ability to generate new intellectual property that offers superior value to customers (Adams et al., 1998 and Carlile, 2002); and (ii) the ability to capitalize on it quickly (Romer, 2000 and Fawcett and Myers, 2001). Companies utilize many different approaches to support these aims, including the integration of new technologies (e.g., CAD/CAM) and the reorganization of their product development and testing teams (Ancona and Caldwell, 1990). In addition, they search for organizational structures or architectures ( Ancona and Caldwell, 1990 and Nadler and Tushman, 1997) that will leverage their strengths and bolster their weaknesses, using the available human and physical capital to accomplish their stated missions. In this paper, we will explore one type of organizational structure – the Integrated Organizational Model (IOM) – and its paradoxical enabling and limiting qualities with respect to the generation of ideas and the subsequent implementation of those deemed best. Within the IOM, the close integration of two organizational groups with essentially different problem solving functions – namely, applied research and development (R&D) and manufacturing – provides the diversity of knowledge, expertise, and problem solving style that enables an organization to solve complex problems successfully. However, this same diversity of ability and approach within and between the two groups of problem solvers can be limiting as well, creating challenges in communication and collaboration that may threaten their problem solving efforts. The greater such differences are, and the longer they are in effect, the more insightful is the effort needed in their management. Our discussion will focus on the critical role of cognitive gaps within this collaborative problem solving process, where cognitive gap is defined as a psychological mechanism that can appear in two general forms (see Fig. 1): (i) as differences between the nature and difficulty of a specific problem and the cognitive resources of the problem solvers tasked with its solution (e.g., G1A and G2A); and (ii) as differences between the cognitive abilities and approaches of the problem solvers themselves (e.g., G12). Cognitive gaps are key factors in ensuring the success (or precipitating the failure) of an integrated organization, and they must be managed wisely and well throughout the business cycle. This task is complicated and challenging, as the gaps that are necessary and potentially enabling (i.e., differences of ability and style among problem solvers) must be handled effectively in order to eliminate the gaps that limit but do not enable (i.e., differences between a problem's requirements and the cognitive resources available). There are many possible ways to measure cognitive gaps and numerous contexts in which to consider them. In this paper, we will address the meaning and the management of cognitive gap in the context of integrated organizations through the lens of Kirton's Adaption-Innovation theory (Kirton, 2003). Kirton's conceptual framework, in addition to providing insight into this specific phenomenon, is also a useful resource for understanding problem solving and problem solvers in general. In particular, it helps explain the paradoxical nature of both personal and organizational structures and the different responses that individuals exhibit when faced with the conflicting qualities that characterize them. We begin (in Section 2) with a brief description of the general organizational context for our discussion; in Section 3, we examine the Integrated Organizational Model (IOM) in some detail and comment on its paradoxical nature. In Section 4, we discuss key concepts and definitions related to problem solving, including cognitive level and style, Kirton's theory of Adaption-Innovation, and cognitive gap. Section 5 addresses the existence and implications of cognitive gaps in integrated organizations, using Carlile's knowledge boundaries (Carlile, 2002) as an example of gaps in cognitive level and Kirton's Adaption-Innovation continuum (Kirton, 2003) to illustrate gaps in cognitive style. In Section 6, we offer suggestions for the effective management of cognitive gap, and in Section 7, we discuss proposed research questions and future work. We summarize the key points of this paper and present our final conclusions in Section 8.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In an effort to remain competitive in an increasingly complex global economy, the trend in organizational structures for high performance product development organizations has moved toward integrated models (Nadler and Tushman, 1997 and Daft, 2004), supported by cross-functional teams that know how to manage their knowledge and communication boundaries effectively (Ancona and Caldwell, 1990, Ancona and Caldwell, 1992, Ancona et al., 2002 and Carlile, 2002). As noted by Haragadon and Sutton (2000), gains from applied research are greatest when the R&D process is closely integrated with the operations of a firm and motivated by the problems and opportunities it faces. This integration can enable a superior product development process overall, if the limiting factors it introduces are addressed successfully. The direct coupling of R&D and manufacturing provides a distinct business advantage by bringing together the diverse cognitive attributes (of both level and style) necessary to solve the complex problems that define new product development. In essence, the integration of these two functional groups helps bridge the cognitive gaps that exist between the requirements of the associated problems and the mental resources of those who must solve them by broadening the range and complexity of problems that the combined group can solve as a whole. The irony of this situation is that this same diversity of cognitive resources results in cognitive gaps between the key problem solving groups (and individuals), which may, in turn, cause the partnership to disintegrate if not managed wisely and well. Thus, the presence of cognitive gaps within the intellectual structure of a product implementation team has a paradoxical dual impact: it can disrupt effective communication and collaboration (a limiting quality) at the same time that it ensures the cognitive diversity needed to develop strong and robust solutions to the challenges faced in bringing novel products to market (an enabling quality). In particular, the tendency to perceive differences in cognitive style as differences in cognitive level (and, in general, the owners of those differences as inferior) can be highly problematic. In such situations, not only are the solutions of the (perceived) “deficient” problem solver typically rejected as “below par”, but his or her job function may be undervalued, and performance appraisals may suffer. In addition, attempted interventions may be aimed in the wrong direction, i.e., efforts may be directed toward building the individual's knowledge or skill in a problem's technical domain (bridging a level gap that may not exist) rather than looking for ways to understand and integrate the individual's perception of the problem and the types of structural changes required for its solution into the combined perspective of the group. In this article, Adaption-Innovation theory was used as a conceptual framework to help us understand and manage more effectively this complicated and challenging situation. Kirton's exposition of the paradox of structure (Kirton, 2003) helps explain the notion of cognitive gap by placing it in perspective within a general problem solving model that underlies best practices within integrated organizations. Cognitive gaps can be managed through appropriate education and training that provides team members with the awareness and skills needed to understand, appreciate, and leverage the differences in problem solving ability and approach that correspond to the range of cognitive levels and styles present, applying them in appropriate balance as needed to solve the problems at hand. With such knowledge and skills available, team leaders will be better prepared and able to facilitate and guide their teams through the entire business cycle. Problem solving prospects are bright for those individuals and teams who can manage and exploit the effects of cognitive gap to everyone's best advantage, particularly if led by those with a deeper understanding of the management of diversity and change, as reviewed and explicated here.