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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

An investigation into the impact on manufacturing performance of the linkage between manufacturing and maintenance strategy

Robson, Kenneth January 2010 (has links)
Maintenance organisations are rarely seen to add value to the business because they are often working in ways not obviously beneficial, or failing to utilise appropriate tools and approaches. It is therefore vital to focus and co-ordinate the work of Maintenance through properly considered and documented strategies. To ensure strategic cohesion, it is also important for the maintenance strategy to be linked to manufacturing and business goals. The primary aim of this thesis was to investigate the impact on manufacturing performance of linking maintenance and manufacturing strategy to ensure one enhances the other. The research began with a literature review which established the `state of the art'. This search failed to locate a suitable model or framework which linked maintenance and manufacturing strategies in a coherent way. Theory building was used to develop a new conceptual model and fill this gap. To maintain rigour the work was supported by existing literature as well as expert knowledge in maintenance and manufacturing strategy and operations. The result was a new model -a concise but comprehensive framework which describes the functional and cross-functional relationships between maintenance and manufacturing strategy and their internal and external links. From the matrix structure of the model a diagnostic tool evolved and, coupled with a specially designed questionnaire, a fully operational test instrument was produced. This tool proved highly suitable for measuring the situation in a manufacturing plant with respect to manufacturing and maintenance strategy, operations, performance, and the links between these. Although other contributions are made in this research, the development of the new conceptual model and diagnostic tool represents the main contribution. The model and diagnostic tool were tested in four manufacturing companies, as real-life case studies. The process involved a programme of semi-structured interviews held at the four case study sites. The questionnaire and diagnostic tool provided a framework for these interviews and furnished the `rich' data needed for the cross-case analysis. The research findings underlined the importance of coherently linking manufacturing and maintenance strategies together. As part of this work a number of inhibitors and enablers were identified. These were further themed to provide five generic recommendations for manufacturing practitioners to follow. The four case studies produced individual diagnostic footprints, each providing a snapshot of the situation in the company at the time of measurement. It was particularly evident that many manufacturing companies are not producing documented strategies and plans and there tends to be a lack of basic systems and procedures. More focus is needed on Human Resource management so that systems and cultural issues are addressed. Further longitudinal and action research would be beneficial to the case study companies involved in this research. The diagnostic footprints produced could serve as a benchmark, from which the organisations could measure improvements in performance which result from recommendations made as a result of the initial diagnostic and measurement. Other organisations could then utilise the tool as a means of identifying opportunities for performance improvement

Corporate governance and board independence

Zhao, Yuan January 2010 (has links)
In recent decades, board independence has become high on the agenda of corporate governance reform, resulting in a dramatic change of composition and structure of boards of publicly traded companies. Debate nevertheless continues: the inefficiency of independent directors has been regularly explored by commentators, and the current financial crisis appears to reinforce the doubts about the contribution of board independence. In this thesis, the author stands with independence proponents, firmly backing the movement of encouraging more independent directors to join the boards of listed companies. However, this thesis intends to bring a more systematic analysis, which many previous academic studies have ignored, to a number of questions, e.g. what specific functions are expected of independent directors; how these functions can fit with the unitary board structure; why independent directors are seen as an inherent demand of corporate governance; whether they can be compatible with other governance mechanisms; how their value can be better appreciated; and how mainstream company law is applied to independent directors. On the other hand, the author accepts some critical findings about the difficulties which independent directors face in practice. In response, the author offers a series of solutions, which critics have rarely mentioned, for the purpose of eliminating those obstacles. In general, this dissertation seeks to fuse together two sides of academy, i.e. the advocates and critics of independent directors, and chart a course through which independent directors can better serve the goal of improving the system of corporate governance.

An exploration of students' entrepreneurial experiences pursuing start-up intentions at university

Woodier-Harris, Naomi January 2011 (has links)
This study focused on exploring students entrepreneurial experiences pursuing business start-up intentions at university. The main aim of the study was to explore students' entrepreneurial intentions and transitions starting a business at university, to inform educationalists and those that support entrepreneurial students in designing future support and interventions. A qualitative approach was taken in this study, with particular reference to Constructivism (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994). A pre and post exploration of students' intentions was designed in the research to explore the context of entrepreneurial students across four universities. A more in-depth look into students' experiences starting a business was conducted with small groups of 3-6 at each university using focus group discussions. Lastly an in-depth unstructured interview was conducted using the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) (Flanagan, 1954; Chell, 1998) to explore `critical incidents' in the students' entrepreneurial experiences starting a business at university; case studies were built from 5 students that had started a business and 5 that hadn't. The results found that students' prior entrepreneurial interests, aspirations and family in business were key motivators towards their desirability to start a business at university. However, upon exploring and generating their ideas and intentions decided against business start-up because of a lack of experience, funding and time. The enterprise funding programme provided the feasibility for students to develop their intentions further and engage in the development of their businesses whilst at university. The enterprise funding programme was an attractive opportunity for those students that initially decided against business start-up and it was found that the practical hands-on learning experience was invaluable. The `critical incidents' that influenced students' decision to start a business were; business idea viable, support from family and friends, practical business training, experience gained, mentor and like-minded students. Those that decided not to start a business indicated that particular non-effective `critical incidents' influencing their decision were; their idea being unviable, personal circumstances, a change of career interests and lack of family support. A model of the transitions of the entrepreneurial students exploring start-up as a career option was presented in the analysis, incorporating the implications to educationalists and those that support entrepreneurial students in designing future support and interventions in the conclusion. The study's contribution to knowledge surrounds an improved understanding of the transitions of students pursuing business start-up and their subsequent career destination through the entrepreneurial transitions model. The use of the CIT method has identified the complexities of students' business start-up experiences and the case studies provide significant contribution. Furthermore, the CIT method highlighted in-depth understanding of the impact of the `learning-by-doing' approach on the enterprise funding programme which was found provided students with the experience and propensity to start a business

Differentiation through services in product-centric b2b companies

Raddats, Christopher Owen January 2009 (has links)
This thesis concerns companies that have traditionally built their businesses by selling products that are using services to augment or replace sales of these products, in a business-to-business (b2b) environment. These companies have been termed productcentric businesses or PCBs. The objectives of the research were as follows; to assess how PCBs measure the success of their services; to determine which factors are most important in creating success; to understand the drivers that cause PCBs to enhance their focus on services; to identify possible service strategies to find out which ones create success; to investigate how PCBs can best organise their businesses to achieve success through services. A literature review was carried out on articles that addressed each objective. Most previous research was exploratory in nature, based on case studies or interviews with a limited number of company managers. There have been calls for academics to carry out quantitative research in this area to provide more of a confirmatory approach. This is the major gap in the literature that this research sought to fill. The author adopted a postpositivist theoretical position to address this research. A mixed methodology was used to answer the research questions, using both qualitative (the exploratory phase) and quantitative (the confirmatory phase) methods. The qualitative phase involved interviewing 40 managers in 25 organisations across 11 sectors. This data was analysed using template analysis and was used (together with the literature) to create a survey, to which managers in 155 organisations responded. Quantitative data was analysed using a number of techniques; exploratory factor analysis (EFA), multivariate analysis of variance (Manova), discriminant analysis, independent samples t-test and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Two factors were identified that PCBs use to measure the success of their services: 'Corporate success' and 'Satisfaction & delivery', with the former being the primary measure. Five factors were identified that create success, with the order of importance as follows: 'Industry standing', 'Personnel', 'Team working', 'Services methods & infrastructure' and 'Solution approach'. The main drivers on PCBs to enhance their focus on services were categorised as 'Strategic options', 'Customer demands' and 'Product characteristics'. A new service strategy typology was proposed based on two dimensions: whether services are closely linked to a company's own products or its own and those of third parties; whether services are closely aligned to products or more aligned to customers' operational activities. Each of the four strategic positions from this typology was tested to determine which created 'Corporate success', with the only one that did being 'Product-attached services on own products' (e.g. product installation, training, technical support) when these products create market differentiation. Post-hoc analysis also showed that high levels of 'Corporate success' lead to increased product sales. Whether an independent service organisation creates 'Corporate success' was also tested, with the results showing that for the population as a whole this was not the case, but for PCBs in the Complex Products & Systems (CoPS) sectors it was. This research made a methodological contribution since it is one of the first studies to address the topic using quantitative methods. A number of theoretical contributions have also been made, e.g. those factors used to measure and create success were identified; a new service typology was proposed and used to test which strategy created services success, with services success shown to lead to product success; the significance of an independent service organisation was shown for companies in the CoPS sectors.

Global innovation leadership of German technology corporations : towards a practical guide for the strategic development of worldwide innovation competence

Bergfeld, M. M. H. January 2008 (has links)
This thesis is about the project-specific application of intra-company innovation networks to enable leadership of German technology corporations in the global race for innovation. It analyses the influence of market- and technology-related complexity on knowledge and technology transfers between German headquarters and foreign subsidiaries. So far, neither the public nor the academic domain have applied this perspective when discussing R&D internationalisation and the role of foreign subsidiaries for innovation competence. However, both complexity dimensions provide important insights regarding the potentials and limitations of R&D internationalisation by German technology corporations. Firstly, a conceptual framework of dynamic intra-company innovation networks is developed: From an organisational point of view, it combines existing concepts of R&D internationalisation, exploration and exploitation of knowledge and technology, and corporate innovation competence. From a strategic point of view, it introduces the dynamics of innovation along technology lifecycles (i. e. from system to product to process and service-related innovation) as explanation for market- and technology-related complexity. Both complexity dimensions are seen as potential contingency factors for the structure of intra-company innovation networks. Secondly, the conceptual model is applied to ten case studies in three German corporations from the automotive, semiconductor and electronics industries. Each case study represents a different strategic setting - i. e. technology lifecycle position and complexity profile. This perspective is matched with a description of the respective network approaches. Thus, the dynamic distribution of roles, responsibilities and innovation competence between the German headquarters and peripheral entities for various innovation project settings is explained. 50 additional expert interviews are drawn upon for further detail. In essence, it is found that the changing foci of innovation along the underlying technology lifecycles (from system to product to process to service-related innovation) give rise to different market- and technology-related complexity settings. These influence the application of centralised, integrated or decentralised innovation networks with different knowledge and technology transfer modi. A shift of innovation competence from central to peripheral entities is recognised over time: Competence for radical, architectural and systemic innovation largely continues to reside in German headquarters while incremental, component- and service-oriented innovation is becoming a domain of foreign subsidiaries. Additionally, the continued growth of the emerging economies gives rise to increasing innovation capability in the periphery. It nurtures stronger roles of subsidiaries from these high-growth markets for corporate innovation in the future. In summary, single corporations turn to simultaneously orchestrating multiple innovation networks as the diffusion of technology quickens and new peripheral centres of innovation competence evolve. Herein, actively recognising where the respectively needed innovation competences are located and consciously managing international knowledge and technology transfers within firms can be expected to become a key challenge to maintain the `Global Innovation Leadership' claim of German TNCs in the future.

Control mechanisms and strategic alliance performance : a knowledge-based approach

Winter, Richard James January 2011 (has links)
Much has been made in recent times about the increase in the use of strategic alliances as a means of improving business effectiveness, efficiency and responsiveness. Indeed, the role played by strategic alliances within contemporary business management research can be argued to have supplanted the flrm as the dominant area ofresearch for academicians. The prevailing paradigm for analysis of the shifting boundaries between flrms and markets has been that of economic rationality, where efficiency is the guiding principle. Within the formalisation of Transaction Cost Economics under Williamson (1975), inter-flrm collaboration has been viewed as an intermediate organisational form that in certain circumstances can be superior to either internal governance or market transactions. However an alternative approach; that of Social Exchange Theory, builds upon foundations of reciprocity and trust and in so doing, shines an alternative light upon the exchange process. It is the purpose of this research to bring together the theories of Transaction Cost Economics and Social Exchange Theory in a discussion of strategic alliance performance. This research suggests that it is the presence of a social contract and the development of trust between alliance partners that will lead to the enhancement of alliance performance. This research also builds upon the knowledge-based view of the frrm and seeks to provide a bifurcation of the constituent elements of knowledge within alliances. Adopting structural equation modelling as the means of analysis, this research fmds evidence for the positive role played by the relational elements of a social contract and trust upon alliance performance, whilst fInding support for the hypothesis that certain structural elements of knowledge have a retarding effect on said performance. Interestingly, knowledge integration is found to have no signiflcant relationship with alliance performance. The implications of these flndings are discussed and future research directions are considered

Towards a grounded theory of corporate turnaround : a case study approach

Pandit, Naresh R. January 1995 (has links)
This study of corporate turnaround was conducted for three reasons. Firstly, from a long-run social welfare perspective, we began in the belief that efforts to rescue ailing firms are, in general, worthwhile as the economic and social benefits outweigh the costs. Secondly, the significant and increasing incidence of firms that find themselves in situations of sustained performance decline indicates the growing importance of the problem. Thirdly, the notable absence of a theoretical framework of corporate turnaround. The principal objective of this study was the generation of a theoretical framework of corporate turnaround. The methodology employed to meet this objective was the style of qualitative research known as the grounded theory approach and since our units of data were cases of turnaround, aspects of the case study method were incorporated. In operationalising the chosen methodology, two lesser auxiliary objectives were defined. Firstly, to assess the utility of on-line computerised databases as a primary source of data for this type of research; and secondly, to assess the utility of computer-based qualitative data analysis software packages in this type of research. Through the analysis of the three case studies (the 'literature' case study and the two 'empirical' cases) a rich theoretical framework of corporate turnaround was generated and tested. Appropriate recovery strategies were found to be contingent upon six sets of contextual factors: the causes of decline; the severity of the crisis; the attitude of stakeholders; industry characteristics; changes in the macroeconomic environment; and, the firm's historical strategy. The content of recovery strategies was usefully decomposed into operational level actions (management change; improved controls; restructuring finances; decentralisation; reduction in production costs; investment in plant and machinery; and, improved marketing) and strategic level actions (asset reduction/divestiture; product/market reorientation; vertical integration; and, joint-ventures). A temporal or implementation dimension was also discovered. Successful actions to effect recovery fell into four distinct (but overlapping) stages (the management change stage; the retrenchment stage; the stabilisation stage; and, the growth stage). Finally, 53 propositions linking the concepts and categories within the framework were generated. In chapter eight, the theoretical framework was assessed in the wider context of the literature on strategy formation. The framework was found to ultimately belong to the rationalistic school of thought but also was argued to provide a means of integrating that school with the supposed alternative incremental school of thought. This integration was suggested on the basis of context. With respect to the two lesser auxiliary objectives of this study, we found firstly, that the data available from the on-line databases Reuters Textline and Predicasts PROMT to be extremely appropriate for this type of research. The hundreds of articles extracted provided a rich and diverse source of information for the two 'empirical' cases. Our second auxiliary objective was to assess the utility of computer-based qualitative data analysis software packages when used in conjunction with on-line data in grounded theory research. In general, we found the packages to be of limited use (rather than easing the process they tend to overcomplicate it) with much development required before they can make a significant impact on the conduct and quality of qualitative research. However, we found the package that we used (ATLAS) to be very much the exception to the rule.

Rapid manufacturing as an enabling technology in supply chain improvements

Ranganathan, Rajesh January 2007 (has links)
No description available.

Using autopoiesis theory to give knowledge management a theoretical foundation

Parboteeah, Paul January 2010 (has links)
The purpose of this research was to give knowledge management a sound conceptual foundation; this was done in three stages. First, the current domain of autopoiesis and knowledge management was explored with a particular focus on reasons for the research and the different approaches used. There was general agreement that knowledge management does need a theoretical foundation and that, currently, knowledge management uses only certain aspects of autopoiesis along with very little empirical work. The second phase of this research was to take an existing model, a model of organisational learning, from the literature and apply to it the principles from autopoiesis. This was done using a matching methodology: a two step process used to align the theories from two or more domains with the aim of creating a new lexis. The resulting autopoietic model of organisational learning was tested in two organisations: Prosidion and the Conservation Services Group. The third phase of this research was to create a model of knowledge that was true to an autopoietic epistemology for evaluation by a range of knowledge management experts from both academia and industry. The main finding from this research was that autopoiesis has the potential to become the theoretical foundation for knowledge management, but further research is required to enhance the usability of the foundation. Principles from autopoiesis can be applied to existing models, with some measurable benefit, but that the true contribution from autopoiesis will be the development of the autopoietic model of knowledge into a tangible, more useable product. This research makes several unique contributions to the field of knowledge management and autopoiesis. First, the creation of the autopoietic models of organisational learning and knowledge, and second, the development of test/evaluation instruments. Finally, the actual results and their analysis provide a new insight into the challenges of giving knowledge management a theoretical foundation.

The development and use of electronic business in the Chinese automotive supply chains

Song, Mei Winnie January 2010 (has links)
The Chinese auto sector has been developed under Government planning and control. In just one decade, the Country has become the largest marketplace in the global auto industry. Implementation of electronic business (EB) is essential for all global auto enterprises to succeed. For this reason, it is important to understand the development of EB within the Chinese automotive sector. The thesis is concerned with the implementation of electronic business within the Chinese automotive industry. It begins with a detailed study of the development of the Chinese automotive industry from 1953 to 2008 and highlights changes in the sedan (passenger vehicle) sector. This work has identified government control and planning as being the driving force making the sector the largest automotive market in the world. The thesis then focuses the need for and development of electronic business within the Chinese automotive sector. The work has identified how EB has been adopted and is being developed inside China. Information reported in the work was obtained in two ways, one by conventional literature studies, the other by interviews through personal contacts inside China. The research has shown that government strategies and industrial policies continue to be a major driver of the Chinese auto sector and as such cannot be ignored. The research suggests there has been no government policy to determine the choices of EB systems used inside China. It is shown that Chinese auto makers have followed the foreign partners' global experience and adopted their existing EB systems for use in Sino-Foreign joint ventures (JVs). This means some major Chinese automakers now operate multi-systems for their JVs.

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