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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.

Business models : an empirical approach to firm structures and organisational change

Bock, Adam J. January 2010 (has links)
Popular though poorly-defined, the business model construct has generated a fragmented and non-accretive research literature. Despite prominence in the practice community for scholarly research has yet to converge on construct boundaries or establish a research framework in organizational theory. This study develops an integrative approach to business models and identifies business model formation and change processes. Prior studies address business models within the strategy discourse of competitive positioning. The failure to disentangle business models and strategy has limited theoretical and practical research. A quasi-systematic review of the academic literature combined with a discourse analysis of the business model in practice yields an empirical assessment of business model language. Managers use business models to address opportunities rather than position the firm for competitive advantage. This anchors an integrative definition for the business model as the design of organizational structures to enact an opportunity. Building on this framework, an analysis of structured interviews with 556 large firm CEOs establishes the links between organizational structures and strategic flexibility. Working within a capabilities and structural framework, the study extends research on strategic flexibility firms engaged in business model innovation in a global, cross-industry context. Creative culture enables strategic flexibility while partner dependence inhibits it. In addition, firms that focus managerial attention without giving up non-core activities achieve flexible outcomes. Finally, a case-based study of innovative entrepreneurial firms unpacks characteristics of business model formation and change processes. In contrast to theories of outward-facing strategic fit with environment, entrepreneurial firms undergo an internallydriven process towards business model coherence. The case studies reveal a self-evolving narrative process operating at multiple levels within the firm. The application of a narrative framework facilitates a novel sense-making approach to theories of change at entrepreneurial firms.

A simulation conceptual modelling methodology for supply chain management applications

Weaver, Miles January 2010 (has links)
The research focuses upon the development of a simulation conceptual modelling methodology for SCM applications (termed the ‘SCM2’). The originality of the SCM2 is that it combines a prescribed procedure for simulation conceptual modelling with supply chain domain-specific knowledge. This procedure is used to guide participants to create a non-software specific description of the simulation model to be developed, in the context of SCM applications. The SCM2 is presented as a series of seven phases, associated steps, who participates in each step, information needs and points of entry between steps. The SCM2 is entered when a client has a supply problem to be evaluated using a simulation approach. The supply problem is described in terms of the improvement(s) to be evaluated, for a given objective(s) within its supply setting. From this description, how each objective is to be measured and how each improvement is to be represented is determined. The interconnections between model components and the immediate supply setting are discriminated, model boundary formulated and level of detail designed. The output from the SCM2 is a documented and validated conceptual model. The need for a greater understanding of how to perform the conceptual modelling stage, as part of a simulation project, is shown to be of great significance and relevance. In particular the thesis argues that no methodologies exist that can guide participants in a simulation project through the process of creating a simulation conceptual model. A research methodological programme is designed to review existing modelling practice, form a specification for the methodology, develop an outline for the SCM2, detail the outline through refinement and application and a preliminary validation of the SCM2. The specification is formed to identify a set of requirements that the methodology should address. The methodology is developed to meet the specification by refining the outline design using two developmental cases of typical and complex supply chain problems. The outline design is founded on existing practice for conceptual modelling and identifies ten key concepts that have been synthesised by considering the design issues for each requirement identified in the specification. A major advance made by this thesis is a suggestion that the process of conceptual modelling could benefit from utilising domain knowledge provided by the Supply Chain Council SCOR model. It is demonstrated that using SCOR is a powerful way to enable a more focused and efficient procedure for conceptual modelling. The methodology incorporates the key concepts and aligns these with a general process for conceptual modelling. A preliminary validation with a different supply chain illustration demonstrates that the methodology is initially ‘feasible’ and has ‘utility’. Future testing is required in different industrial contexts with actual participants and an opportunity exists to extend the methodology into a web-based application tool.

Technology improvements and innovation in the forestry products sectors in Russia

Thomas, Ekaterina January 2011 (has links)
Despite the largest forestry resources in the world, Russian forestry products sectors lag behind international competitors in product and process technology sectors, and Russia remains the largest exporter of raw timber and low added value timber products. The study develops an extended framework of enterprise and sector level learning within the context of the National System of Innovation (NSI) to examine technology improvements and innovation in less dynamic low technology sectors and applies it to forestry products sectors in Russia. In particular, the study addresses the question „Why do Russian forestry products sectors and firms lag behind their foreign competitors in technological improvements, innovation and higher value added production?? and seeks to explain why Russian forestry products industries, which appear to have the potential based on existence of the required natural resources, are unable to achieve international competitiveness in markets for higher value added products. Using company level data, the study utilised complementary quantitative and qualitative methodologies, which allowed the use of evidence from qualitative research findings to corroborate quantitative research findings. The results of the statistical analyses reveal that Russian companies perceive that the ability to innovate is positively associated with R&D commitment and amount of training. Case study evidence demonstrates very weak commitment to R&D in all but one companies and much of the technical training is confined to on-the-job training because of financial and personnel constraints. This combination of statistical and case study evidence goes some way towards explaining the lack of technological success. Lack of technological capability is found to be a less serious obstacle than limitations of social capital, investment, and external support mechanisms in both the statistical and case study evidence. The majority of learning effects observed in companies were related incremental improvement of existing skills and competences. The evidence from case studies indicates that companies have reached the „adaptation stage? of capability development i.e. they have the ability to use, adapt and stretch the technology and equipment. However, companies? ambitions to upgrade their technologies were limited by internal and external constraints. The internal constraints were that their human and financial resources were fully stretched. Companies survived by limiting their activities to what is feasible within their resources and capabilities and the markets they can serve. Companies appear to possess learning ability and necessary skills and competences to produce value added forestry products as they demonstrated first-order learning, which takes place within firms. We observed limited second- and third-order learning (learning between firms and at the level of the whole economy which are important elements of technological „catch up?). Existing mechanisms for leveraging more advanced technology at the national, enterprise and sector level were also very limited. An important finding of the study is that for survivors, working under serious constraints sharpens, rather than weakens, some technological competences, notably those for making good use of the available technology and equipment, and adapting and stretching the technology. Improved financial and human resources and better external linkages and business environment are needed to develop more advanced competences and higher value added products. Theoretical insights and propositions generated by the study need to be tested with evidence from other laggard sectors and enterprises who are progressing very slowly in catching up or do not see any prospects of catching up

Understanding multi-agent design as coordination

Alexiou, Aikaterini January 2007 (has links)
Design decision making increasingly involves the participation of multiple agents which bring into the design process multiple, and often conflicting, needs, knowledge, and goals. To the human agents (experts from the same or different domains, clients, users, stakeholders) one should add artificial agents (computational models and tools more generally) that play an important part in the process. Design research has considered the issue of distributed decision making mainly through the concepts of cooperation and collaboration. The present thesis argues that coordination is a more apposite concept for capturing the social distributed character of design. The concept of coordination places emphasis on issues of interdependency, complexity and distribution and enables us to understand design at a systemic/organisational level, without making assumptions about agents' commitment to a common goal, or their disposition towards cooperation or conflict. Additionally, coordination is used to capture the generative, creative aspects of distributed design decision making. The study explores and establishes the meaning of coordination through experimentation with computational models and simulations. The very process of building these models is a vehicle for exploring key hypotheses and assumptions, and developing a coherent theoretical construction. Overall, the thesis identifies the key dimensions of coordination that are typical to the domain of design, and employs them to develop a framework (a theory) for understanding multi-agent design as a generative social process. The dimensions identified are learning, decentralised control and co-evolution. A model of coordination developed using the paradigm of distributed learning control is used as a way to establish the precise meaning of these dimensions. Based on insights from the experimentation, the concept of coordination is further refined in order to propose an organisational (complexity-informed) perspective of multi-agent design. According to this perspective, the relationship between agents, their goals, and the design variables they manipulate, is at the same time a product of the design process, but also a constraint over individual agents. Coordination is then defined as a dynamic process towards a scheme of organisation that entails the emergence of collective design solutions.

The role of managerial vision : a cognitive and social perspective of ICI Paints

Lancaster, Nicholas James January 2001 (has links)
A failure to properly perceive commercial conditions requiring innovation and a failure to understand the underlying nature of technological change are typically said to engender a reluctance to innovate. Explanations of why mature firms in particular, are slow to innovate, frequently draw upon technological, economic or strategic descriptions. However, human interaction and understanding are suggested as being 'at the heart' of the process. Consequently, this thesis considers the cognitive and social nature of managerial vision and its role in stimulating innovation within ICI Paints. Drawing upon a Situated Cognition perspective, a broad exploratory account of the role of the cognitive and social mechanisms of vision and the role of agency and structure by which technology is shaped and developed, suggests several conceptual areas where a cognitive approach may complement sociological approaches to technological change. The account suggests that the content of managerial vision is shaped through a personal discourse, shared practice and 'apprenticeship' learning and remains open to revision within the boundaries of 'ground rules and agreed prejudice'. Beliefs concerning future innovation opportunity are exchanged, modified and appropriated through a continuous social narrative, with an order of shared meaning provided by the cultural heritage of the firm, the specification of a particular technology and the 'legitimising' influence of 'communities of practice'. Consequently, the construction, development and transmission of 'vision' is situated within the meaning that existing practice and technology has for individuals.

Improving construction planning practice in Saudi Arabia by means of lean construction principles and techniques

AlSehaimi, Abdullah January 2011 (has links)
The research presented in this thesis identifies problems related to project management that could lead to delay in construction projects and seeks to provide practical solutions. Its main aim is to improve construction planning practice by implementing practical solutions to eliminate or reduce the impacts of causes of delay in Saudi Arabia. It begins by analyzing work by other researchers in the field to identify the state of the art. Causes of delay are examined to gain insight into the controllable managerial factors related to poor project management and to seek practical solutions. This involves investigation of the available solutions, where the theory and the practice of current project management, particularly construction planning, are examined. The literature reveals that traditional project management tools and practices are inadequate in the current era of speedy and complex projects. Accordingly, the implementation of innovative Lean Construction principles and techniques is proposed. Among these, this research tests the applicability of the best known technique, the Last Planner System (LPS). To implement such techniques and so overcome the many problems in construction practice, including delay, there is a need for approaches more effective than traditional research methods such as interviews, observation and questionnaires. These new approaches should allow researchers to influence practice and play an active role with practitioners. Consequently, this research study is based on action research, i. e. a collaborative effort between participant organisations and the researcher as facilitator. In practice, the work examines the effectiveness of implementing LPS to improve the construction planning and control process, aiming to minimize related causes of delay by bringing together empirical data showing the implementation of Lean Construction techniques in two state-funded construction projects in Saudi Arabia. The work synthesises two action research studies, examining and interpreting the results of interviews and questionnaire surveys, then makes recommendations to relevant parties for the implementation of Lean Construction in Saudi Arabia. Major benefits are demonstrated in terms of improving management practice, while various causes of delay can be identified and dealt with regularly. Results of interviews, observations and questionnaires reveal the benefits achieved, the critical success factors and the potential obstacles to the implementation of LPS. The findings reinforce those of LPS studies in other countries, with some differences. In the light of the benefits achieved, it can be stated that LPS is a universal technique applicable to different contexts. The results also indicate that Lean principles provide convenient tools for improving management practice in construction projects. It is evident that their adoption via action research helps construction practitioners to understand their problems better, thus providing satisfying solutions. Further, the management process can be enhanced through continuous improvement and assessment, thus improving project delivery in terms of cost, time and quality.

Organisational innovativeness and diffusion of innovation

Shi, Xiaohui January 2011 (has links)
In the existing literature, studies of innovativeness usually focus on individual characteristics with little concern for aggregated behaviour; the central role of innovativeness, opinion leadership, and geographic location have not been fully reflected in diffusion models; most diffusion models either make simplified as-sumptions to model aggregated trends or concern individual behaviours exces-sively as being ‘toy models’; understandings of the diffusion forces bifurcate into explanations on social contagion effect and self-conformity effect and few diffu-sion models have tried to combine these two streams of thinking. In order to contribute knowledge to these fields, this study seeks to model the diffusion process from an agent-based perspective, with a specific focus on the effects of organisational innovativeness, opinion leadership, and geographic location. The proposed model is a focusing tool that helps interpret and organise the empirical observation. In turn, the model’s results could raise further questions for empiri-cal exploration. The result from the model simulation echoes a number of existing works on in-novation strategies with further quantitative implications for both industry policy makers and managers in organisations. It is found that the statistical distributions of organisational innovativeness and opinion leadership are both important fac-tors in diffusion; the level of information flow between organisations with differ-ent innovativeness levels influences the diffusion process significantly; to cluster organisations in one area changes the interactions between them and increases the diffusion rate, even when the average interaction level of the system is con-trolled. The model also indicates that organisations’ self-effort is the only way for being innovators; that factors that are related to interactions with others are more important for laying in the majority category; and that laggards normally adopt innovations by ‘luck’.

Cliques and elites : inter-organisational knowledge sharing across five star hotels in the Saudi Arabian religious tourism and hospitality industry : a grounded theory study

Idrees, Inaam January 2011 (has links)
This research project is an exploratory, qualitative study focusing on knowledge sharing practices from an inter-organisational perspective in a context where organizations engage simultaneously in competitive and cooperative relationships. It addresses the lack of prior empirical research on the paradoxical competitive-cooperative environment of the tourism and hospitality industry and the need for theories in this area, which has been largely neglected by the discipline of Knowledge Management. This study deploys a four stage research design based on Grounded Theory principles. Throughout the first three stages a series of semi-structured interviews with hotel managers in the city of Madinah was conducted and analysed simultaneously as expected in the Grounded Theory approach. The result is a theory of knowledge sharing practices among five star hotels for the religious tourism and hospitality industry of Saudi Arabia. The research analysed the formation of a clique of five star hotels, which engage in intense cooperation despite the fact that they are competitors. Informal membership of the clique was found to be restricted by similarity, competition and status, and took place within the context of a market structure known as oligopoly. This type of market is characterized by few suppliers, a strategic interdependence between these competing suppliers, and a state of tension between actions that will benefit them individually and what will benefit the industry as a whole. Collective advantages benefit all clique members, and include areas such as standardisation, in which the hotels align their service levels and average out their prices; bargaining, with outside bodies, such as suppliers or industry regulators; and image promotion of the five star hotel market; finally, they also seek to assist each other by circulating amongst themselves details of potential and unwanted employees whom they wish to market to their fellow clique members, as well as information regarding troublesome clients. Thus, there exists interdependence between five-star hotels, which stems from the fact that there are few of them and each with a large share of the market. As a result, each hotel faces a conflict between the wish to compete - by seeking to increase market share and maximize profits independently - and the possibilities of cooperation with other, similar hotels, whereby all can jointly maximize profits and jointly protect their elite status. The theoretical model produced in this research places great emphasis upon the existence of this cooperative-competitive tension. A theoretical contribution of the model is the employment of oligopoly theory, to explain the way in which inter-organisational knowledge sharing occurs within this context. Another contribution is that it develops an analysis based on elements of game theory, particularly the Prisoner's Dilemma. As is predicted in the Prisoner's Dilemma, there are short-term gains to be met by agreeing to one course of action and then following another, as long as other firms do not deploy the same tactics. However, the same theory illustrates the mutual benefits of cooperation, which work to build bridges and create a basis for long-term success and protect and maintain the elite status of the clique. Accordingly, this research demonstrates that, similar to successful strategies within the Prisoner's Dilemma, hotels choose to cooperate because it is a better long-term strategy than seeking to divide the market through competition.

Achieving business excellence in software quality management

Elliott, Michael James January 2008 (has links)
Many companies have had difficulties in achieving success with software process improvement initiatives or have had adverse experiences in implementing quality systems. With a plethora of standards available and the numerous frameworks to apply best practice, none appears to act as a panacea to guarantee fulfilment or realise a true Return-on-Investment. This thesis proposes a holistic approach to software process improvement, describing a range of supporting tools and methods highlighting a true understanding of the customer base and associated cultures. The research aim was to develop and evaluate a demonstrably effective and efficient software quality management methodology suitable for a technical company such as AWE plc. To be effective the methodology must deliver an improved conformance to the quality standards and deliver real process improvement. To be efficient the methodology must deliver a real Return-on-Investment. Case studies on the implementation of the quality system were carried out at AWE plc. Each case study provided a further opportunity to measure and analyse the success or otherwise of that method or tool for further refinement. Audits, self-assessment, training, system design, marketing, and the people skills associated with a consultation process are all examined in detail. The research methodology has demonstrated its success as case studies show that steady improvement in implementing the software quality system has occurred year on year. This success has been validated by third party ISO 9001 assessments and has led to an enhancement in AWE plc reputation as a centre of software excellence. The approach has overcome cultural resistance and changed working practices. With a philosophy of customer care, consultation, and active engagement, practitioners now adopt best-practice quality management principles. The cost effectiveness of this methodology means its adoption could be considered by any organisation whether large or small.

The impacts of Environmental Supply Chain Management (ESCM) on the environmental activities of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): empirical study of the Korean electronics industry

Kim, Namkyu January 2007 (has links)
Small and medium sized enterprises' (SMEs) environmental performance and action have been often of great concern toward sustainability although they are playing a critically important role in economic and industrial development. Among lots of initiatives to engage SMEs into sustainability framework, environmental supply chain management (ESCM) of large companies has a great potential to persuade SMEs to undertake environmentally improved activities. ESCM approaches have been increasingly popular in today's large companies' businesses for their competitiveness, compliance with regulation and social responsibility. SMEs may be confronted with these environmental pressures as suppliers to large companies in the market. This research investigated the relations and dynamics between the ESCM approaches of large companies and the environmental activities of SMEs in the Korean electronics industry. A methodological triangulation approach adopting postal questionnaire survey and interview was used to describe these phenomena and to explore to the reasons, obstacles to implement ESCM approaches, and identify key critical factors in ESCM approaches and SMEs beyond ESCM pressures. This study found that ESCM approaches of large companies have positive impacts on SMEs' environmental activity, and the collaborative approach was more effective than the arm's-length approach. Furthermore, when ESCM approaches fitted the internal conditions of an SME, the conduct of its environmental activities improved. Appropriate compensations and the environmental awareness of a CEO could make the SMEs undertake environmental activities by going beyond the criteria suggested by customers.

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