• Integrating new technology in established organizations: A mapping of integration mechanisms

      Karlsson, C.; Taylor, Margaret; Taylor, Andrew (2010)
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to identify and examine the various mechanisms that can be used to integrate new technology into existing products, and to determine some of the conditions under which specific integration mechanisms are most appropriate. Design/methodology/approach The paper adopted an exploratory theory¿building approach based on analysis of data from 12 case studies, each representing companies with varying levels of: technological maturity of the organization and technological advancement of their products. Informants were managers and engineers who had responsibility for, or a significant role in, the integration of software and hardware. At least three interviews were conducted in each company and all interviews were of at least two hours duration. In total, 41 interviews were conducted. The different approaches used for technology integration were examined and subsequently mapped using the twin dimensions outlined above. Findings Cross¿case pattern analysis indicates that for technologically mature organizations, mechanisms based on processes are most appropriate, while for less mature organizations an approach based on structural mechanisms may be more suitable. Similarly, in cases involving high levels of technology advancement in the products, integration mechanisms based on processes and culture are preferable, whereas for low technology products the mechanisms are clustered around resource¿based approaches. Research limitations/implications Multiple cases do not permit as much depth as the classic single case study and tend to yield ¿modest¿ rather than ¿grand¿ theoretical development. The use of scaling to convert qualitative data into quantitative data, and the identification of patterns in cross¿case analysis are both based on interpretive judgements. Future research should examine the proposed model and its constructs in different settings and using alternative research methods. There is also an opportunity to explore the relationships between the integration mechanisms and the outcomes of integration projects, and finally, it would be useful to extend the work to service settings and to integration of process technology. Practical implications The findings provide guidance to managers in selecting alternative approaches to managing the process of technology integration in different contexts. Examples are given of practices associated with each integration mechanism, together with some of the tensions and challenges which arise during implementation. Originality/value The paper provides clear guidance on the approaches that can be used for technology integration for product development. It classifies these according to the level of maturity and experience in the organization and the level of advancement of the product offered by the technology.