Authors: Alexander Coman
Addresses: IBM Watson Research Labs, 1 Hermon Street, Tel Aviv 65153, Israel
Abstract: R&D executives face the difficult task of knowledge-management over heterogeneous Concurrent Engineering (CE) teams in an environment of time pressure, uncertainty and high failure rates. Decision-making is particularly difficult when team members are geographically dispersed, come from a broad range of cultures and disciplines, and interact for a relatively short time period. Global high-tech firms, where stakeholders are dispersed around the world and cannot meet face-to-face on a regular basis, conduct much of the dialogue electronically. Computer support of collaborative work and Group-Decision-Support- Systems (GDSS) in particular facilitates the process. The Intensity-Polarity-Voting-Model (IPVM) that we develop aggregates each decision-maker|s position and intensity on a given issue to generate a group position, the group|s aggregate intensity, and the group|s level of consensus associated with that particular issue - the associated polarity. The IPVM polarity value is used to focus the discussion on controversial issues and set an optimal agenda for increasing group efficiency. IPVM|s intensity measures the level of group competence associated with a given issue. Low intensity issues may have to be studied further before they can be resolved. IPVM polarity also gauges the level of cohesiveness in the group, a predictor of operational effectiveness. The IPVM is applicable to forecasting, make-or-buy decisions, supply-chain-management, knowledge management, product design, quality-function-deployment, ongoing quality control, and total-quality-management. This paper focuses on an international CE team selecting an original-equipment-manufacturer (OEM) to subcontract a key subsystem.
Keywords: knowledge management; concurrent engineering; GDSS; collaborative work; groupware; management of technology; power; conflict; negotiation; motivation; supply chain management; quality function deployment; QFD; Japanese management; OEM selection; teamwork.
International Journal of Technology Management, 2000 Vol.20 No.3/4, pp.388-404
Published online: 07 Jul 2003 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article