Network configuration of global R&D networks: Extending OM configuration concepts

Zaza Nadja Lee Hansen, Jagjit Singh Srai

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    Companies are increasingly globalising their R&D activities, both within the firms and with external partners, with consequent implications for their interaction with manufacturing operations. Previous research in R&D networks has focused on coordination, governance and support elements. However, network configuration of global R&D has tended to focus on strategic elements with limited attention given operational effectiveness, or to interfaces with downstream manufacturing operations. Within OM literature, the drivers of configuration of global networks within, engineering, production, supply, and services have been extensively developed in recent years. This paper extends these OM configuration concepts to the configuration of R&D networks, to provide a more comprehensive strategic and operational analysis for this domain, and to also consider potential interfaces with manufacturing operations. The methodology involved developing a framework for R&D network configuration drawing on the approaches used in OM, followed by multiple case-studies to map R&D configuration elements. The findings showed that while some elements were similar to previous network configuration research some new elements, specific to R&D networks emerged, e.g. product features were more prominent in R&D networks. Furthermore, the study has shown extensive interaction with other operations, including many downstream manufacturing operations. By extending the OM configuration concepts to the configuration of R&D networks this paper provides new insight into both R&D networks and OM configuration theories and thereby strengthens both academic fields.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe 18th International Annual EurOMA Conference
    Place of PublicationCambridge
    Publication date2011
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    Event18th International Annual European Operations Management Association Conference - Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Duration: 3 Jul 20116 Jul 2011
    Conference number: 18


    Conference18th International Annual European Operations Management Association Conference
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    • R&D networks
    • configuration
    • globalisation, networks

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