Loop : Leadership and Organization of Integration in Product Development
Abstract: Many companies have introduced concurrent engineering over the years in product development to handle the complexity of the technology chosen, relations and dependencies through coordination of people and the integration of tasks in problem solving.The aim of this research is to investigate the collaboration of engineers and management, and how tasks are composed in order to enable high levels of integration in cross-functional settings in product development.The context of this research is the product development of the Swedish multi-role aircraft, JAS39 Gripen at Saab. The product development of aircraft is based on advanced technology on the edge of present knowledge, pushing the limits of present knowledge and developing new technologies.While product development as a process is equifinal, the introduction of concurrent engineering is a multifinal process. There is not one answer to how concurrent engineering set-ups should be designed. Even if the aim and mission may appear to be the same, the actual outcome of a design process of a particular concurrent engineering setting may be different.In Loop, a framework of the architecture of integration is developed that enable an analysis of different concurrent engineering settings. The most important reasons for the lack of intra- and inter-organizational integration of suppliers in the product development are the design of the work breakdown structure and the definition of work packages. Dependence structure matrix methodology is introduced to elaborate the established work breakdown structure and work packages, enabling engineers and suppliers to participate in the design of the process for product development on the engineering work level. In addition, dependency structure analysis shows that collaborative work packages, and multi-layer team structure, could be applied in order to handle the coordination of people and integration of tasks among functions, suppliers, and systems integrators.The answer to handling complexity is to develop organizational settings on the principles of selforganizing systems. A human system based on the principles of self-organizing is characterized by bounded instability. A self-organizing system is an adaptive, nonlinear system with open boundaries, continuously redesigned. A self-organizing system is a fractal structure. Every self-organizing system, or its part, is unique and differs from all the others. The process of establishing the "self' is not directed or controlled by management, but evolves through the interrelationships of the system's parts, elements, processes, and people. Self-organizing system develop through the participation of engineers in the design of the structure and the processes. The performance of the self-organizing system is attained through the coherence and collaboration of all people, and their participation and commitment in the design of the self-organizing system. The participatory approach is based on the premises of situational visibility that appear when strategic conversation takes place at the same time as engineers participate in organizational and process design. The participation of engineers is based on respect for their autonomy, identity, and privacy. Strategic conversation and participation are crucial for developing self-organizing and selfregulating systems.
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