Rhythms of Learning -- Radical and Incremental Innovation Projects and Problem-solving in the Automotive Industry
52 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2014 Last revised: 29 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 15, 2014
This article studies effects of knowledge articulation and knowledge codification on learning in radical and incremental New Product Development (NPD) projects. It presents results of a multiple longitudinal case study of four sequential car development projects. To gain in-depth insights, weekly meeting data were analyzed on project and problem-solving level. We contribute to organizational learning and problem-solving literatures by deriving propositions based on three rhythmic patterns identified. Firstly, effective project-to-project learning requires knowledge articulation and codification overlap and is moderated by project newness. Secondly, successful projects form a wave-shaped rhythm of knowledge articulation defined by changing amplitudes and frequencies. Hence, through effective learning, knowledge articulation follows a decaying oscillation. Thirdly, knowledge codification follows an s-shaped curve, reflecting phases of high and low knowledge codification. From a managerial perspective, our findings unveil the complex relationship between respective patterns and successful learning, helping managers to more precisely plan and monitor NPD.
Keywords: communication, new product development, (intra-) organizational learning, problem-solving, project-based learning, engineering artifacts
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