Developing Shared Product Platforms During a Merger: The Fiat-Chrysler Case

Posted: 16 Jul 2014

See all articles by Anna Cabigiosu

Anna Cabigiosu

Ca Foscari University of Venice

Francesco Zirpoli

Università Ca' Foscari Venezia

Markus C. Becker

University of Southern Denmark

Date Written: July 1, 2014

Abstract

This paper, building on R&D integration and improvisation literature, explores how firms organize to jointly develop common product platforms if their integration process is still in progress. In order to address our exploratory research question, we draw on a unique set of empirical data gathered during the Fiat-Chrysler R&D integration process and during the development of their first shared product platform. We show that, how due to fierce competition on time in the industry, the two companies did not have time to complete the planned R&D integration. As a consequence, the first shared platform development project represented the real locus of technological, knowledge, and organizational integration between the two firms. In line with the R&D integration literature, this paper identifies a set of planned integration mechanisms: a centralized R&D area, two teams that mirror each other, integrator roles and shared technical norms. This organization was designed to help Fiat and Chrysler exploiting their complementarities. Furthermore, building on the improvisational literature, we show that the planned organization did not suffice: interstices between the two firms exist and planning and improvisation are complementary. Improvisation should be built upon a minimum structure and firms willing to accelerate their integration process can rely upon NPD activities.

Keywords: R&D integration, improvisation, NPD organization, merger and acquisitions

JEL Classification: O32

Suggested Citation

Cabigiosu, Anna and Zirpoli, Francesco and Becker, Markus C., Developing Shared Product Platforms During a Merger: The Fiat-Chrysler Case (July 1, 2014). Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia Working Paper No. 11, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2466658 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2466658

Anna Cabigiosu (Contact Author)

Ca Foscari University of Venice ( email )

Dorsoduro 3246
Venice, Veneto 30123
Italy

Francesco Zirpoli

Università Ca' Foscari Venezia ( email )

Cannaregio 873
Venice, Veneto 30121
Italy

Markus C. Becker

University of Southern Denmark ( email )

Campusvej 55
Odense, 5000
Denmark

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