Managing a Global Partnership Model: Lessons from the Boeing 787 'Dreamliner' Program
Forthcoming in Global Strategy Journal
55 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2012 Last revised: 28 Aug 2013
Date Written: September 24, 2012
Understanding how to effectively integrate knowledge among the subsidiaries of an MNE is one of the most important research areas in global strategy. However, little research has examined the integration challenges in globally disaggregated value-chains in a complex NPD effort involving cutting-edge technologies or the tools managers use to overcome these challenges. Using an in-depth longitudinal study of the Boeing 787 program, we highlight three distinct integration challenges Boeing faced pertaining to design integration, production integration, and supply-chain integration. It addressed these integration challenges through recourse to partial collocation, establishing a unique IT-enabled centralized integration support center, reintegrating some activities previously performed by suppliers, and using its bargaining power to facilitate changes. We found that the integration tools employed were geared toward two primary objectives: gaining increased visibility of actions, and visibility of knowledge networks across partner firms; and motivating partners to take actions that would improve such visibility. These findings add a level of empirical traction to the theoretical debate around the integration tools and the role of authority in the knowledge-based view of the firm.
Keywords: coordination, NPD, distributed work
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