The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of cross-functional knowledge conversion within Taiwanese high-technology small and medium-sized enterprise's (SME) new product development (NPD) teams. An analysis of 107 Taiwanese high-technology SMEs' management characteristics found a complex knowledge structure is better adopted for cross-functional knowledge conversion during the NPD period than existing or simple knowledge structure models. In addition, a Processual strategy moderated the relationships between organisational knowledge structures and four-all steps within knowledge conversion to knowledge transfer; in contrast, Classical strategy was shown only to have moderated effects during the planning and developing stage of the NPD period. Following Blackler's (1995) organisational theory, this study also found the socialisation and externalisation stages require both knowledge features from communication-intensive organisation and symbolic-analyst-dependent organisation within the NPD team's knowledge conversion. Knowledge features from a knowledge-routinised organisation are required at the combination stage; and finally, the knowledge features from an expert-dependent organisation are required at the internalisation stage. Observed strategies can be categorised as being Classical or Processual oriented (Whittington, 1993). This study describes how the strategy moderates the relationship between the organisational knowledge structures and the four knowledge-creation steps, socialisation, externalisation, combination and internalisation for NPD teams. Results showed that the requirement upon strategy differed among stages within the NPD period. During the transfer process, Processual strategy moderated the relationships between organisational knowledge structures and steps within conversion to knowledge transfer during the planning, developing, marketing and commercialisation stages of the NPD period even the negative moderating effects showed in some stages. In contrast, Classical strategy was shown only to have negative moderating effects during the planning and developing stage. Survey results also showed that the highly formalised communication model and periodic meetings advocated by Song et al (1996 & 2002) were gradually replaced by a bounded transfer and less formalised approach. However this study does not find that a consistent approach to strategy, using either PS or CS is likely to smooth the NPD process between marketing and R & D in high technology Taiwanese firms. It is possible that other schools, such as the Evolutionary or Systemic schools suggested by Whittington may fit more closely than the two tested in this study; and this will be the topic of further investigation. However, it is clear that different stages require contradictory processes and outcome routines; thus it is likely that conflict and inconsistency is actually the normal by-product of successful NPD's knowledge conversion.
|Date of Award||2008|
- Nottingham Trent University