Inderscience Publishers

Coordinating new product development in an international joint venture

This is a case study of the problems in coordinating business functions (R&D and manufacturing) among firms engaged in a joint venture for new product development (NPD). The study focused on relationships across organisational boundaries, that is among the joint venture organisation and the two partner companies. A conceptual framework, based on the new product development and strategic alliance literatures, served as a guide in developing specific propositions from the interview data. The findings indicate that a partnership's task and task environment, specifically cross-company subunit interdependencies, produce requirements for inter-functional coordination between firms. Certain partner characteristics, however, hamper attaining the required coordination. These characteristics include the relative degree of concurrency of the partners' NPD processes and a partner's difficulty in establishing external information technology linkages. Aspects of the partners' relationship, specifically perceived appropriability risks, also hinder achieving the necessary coordination. The relative degree to which each partner has management control over the relationship influences perceived risks. These findings are put into perspective through a comparison of new product development in a partnership and in a single business unit.

Keywords: new product development, international joint venture, strategic alliance, interorganisational coordination, interorganisational information systems

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