Unexpected emergence of a Community of Practice when implementing Product Configuration Systems

Kasper Edwards, Morten Møldrup

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Customers are increasingly demanding customised products tailored to their specific needs, and many firms are faced with the challenge of delivering such goods. Over time the number of product variants increases with consequences for sales staff, as they must know an increasingly larger number of products. Sales staff copes by specializing in particular products and becomes increasingly fragmented. Product configuration systems (PCS) are a technology, which is designed to manage product variety by automating parts of the work performed by sales staff. PCS is also seen by management as a tool to lower the skill required for acting as a sales person through division of labour, narrowing the job and automating intellectual tasks. Consequently, when analysing PCS implementations, we expected to observe lowered job satisfaction and more repetitive work. This expectation has not been met, quite the contrary. Sales staff now has higher job satisfaction, because the PCS has provided a common platform on which a community of practice has emerged. Automation has removed the technical aspects of the job, which interested engineers and not sales staff, who may now focus on what they perceive to be their real job: Providing a good sales experience and good service.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings from the 9TH International Conference “Human & Organisational Issues in the Digital Ent
    Publication date2004
    Publication statusPublished - 2004
    Event9TH International Conference “Human & Organisational Issues in the Digital Enterprise - National University of Ireland, Galway
    Duration: 5 Nov 1829 → …

    Conference

    Conference9TH International Conference “Human & Organisational Issues in the Digital Enterprise
    CityNational University of Ireland, Galway
    Period05/11/1829 → …

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