Communication in high technology product development projects : project personnel’s viewpoint for improvement
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management
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|Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Technology of the University of Oulu for public defence in OP-sali (Auditorium L10), Linnanmaa, on 16 October 2010, at 12 noon
Doctor Stina Immonen
Docent Kaj Koskinen
Product development plays a crucial role in the survival of high technology companies. High technology product development projects typically are multi-technical, multicultural, geographically dispersed, inter-connected and organized in a network of companies. These settings pose extra challenges for communication.
In this qualitative multiple-case study, communication challenges and possible solutions for developing communication were studied. The empirical data were collected from five high technology product development projects. Each project represented a different high technology company operating in the Oulu area, in Finland. Multiple data collection methods were used, including interviews studying organizations’ internal documents, web-based surveys among project personnel and case-internal focus groups. After studying each of the five cases separately, a cross-case analysis was conducted by the researcher.
The findings of this research show that communication challenges depend on the business role of the company. Efforts to enhance communication should be considered in relation to the business realities of companies. Typical challenges include a lack of communication planning, lack of project personnel’s communication competence and obstacles caused by physical & organizational boundaries.
Possible solutions for developing communication include systematic planning of project communication and defining communication development targets based on internal analyses and the business realities of the company. Data management systems should be set up to enhance the work done and information flows in projects. Another solution is continuous trust building through feedback between the companies participating in the same product development project.
According to the results of this study, companies can direct their efforts when enhancing communication in product development projects. Companies can also utilize of the process described in this research to identify their communication challenges and to define communication action plans.
Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. C, Technica
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