• 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.
    • Operations management research: contemporary themes, trends and potential future directions

      Taylor, Andrew; Taylor, Margaret (2009)
      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to identify the contemporary research themes published in IJOPM in order to contribute to current debates about the future directions of operations management (OM) research. Design/methodology/approach All 310 articles published in IJOPM from volume 24 issue 9 in 2004 through volume 29, issue 12 in 2009 are analysed using content analysis methods. This period of analysis is chosen because it represents all the articles published in issues for which the authors are able to have full control, during their period of tenure as Editors of the journal. This analysis is supplemented by data on all 1,853 manuscripts submitted to the journal during the same time period and further, by analysis of reviews and feedback sent to all authors after review. Findings The paper reports the main research themes and research methods inherent in the 310 published papers. Statistics on the countries represented by these papers and the size and international composition of author teams are provided, together with the publication success rates of the countries that submit in the highest volumes, and the success rates associated with the size of the author team. Finally, data on the reasons for rejection of manuscripts are presented. Research limitations/implications There is some residual inaccuracy in content analysis methods, whereby, in extracting research themes there is often more than one topic covered. In the same vein, as regards categorisation of the causes of rejection of manuscripts during the review process, there is frequently more than one reason for rejection, so perhaps a weighted scoring system would have been more insightful. In determining the country of origin of papers, while the country of the corresponding author is used, it should be recognised that some studies originate from international collaborations so that this method may give a slightly distorted picture. Finally, in computing publication success rates by comparison of submissions and published papers there is a time delay between the two data sets within any defined period of analysis. Practical implications The analysis adds generally to debates about contemporary research themes; in particular it extends the work of Pilkington and Fitzgerald, which analyses all articles solely in IJOPM between 1994 and 2003. In addition, the findings suggest a need for more frequent exploitation of multiple research methods, for greater rigour in the planning and execution of fieldwork, for greater engagement with the world of OM practice and finally, consideration of how OM research can address wider social and political issues. Originality/value This paper represents an inside view of the publication process from a leading OM journal; this kind of insight is rarely available in the public domain.
    • The technology life cycle: Conceptualization and managerial implications

      Taylor, Margaret; Taylor, Andrew (2012)
      This paper argues that the technology life cycle literature is confused and incomplete. This literature is first reviewed with consideration of the related concepts of the life cycles for industries and products. By exploring the inter-relationships between these, an integrated view of the technology life cycle is produced. A new conceptualization of the technology life cycle is then proposed. This is represented as a model that incorporates three different levels for technology application, paradigm and generation. The model shows how separate paradigms emerge over time to achieve a given application. It traces the eras of ferment and incremental change and shows how technology generations evolve within these. It also depicts how the eras are separated by the emergence of a dominant design, and how paradigms are replaced at a technological discontinuity. By adopting this structure, the model can demarcate the evolution of technologies at varying levels of granularity from the specific products in which they may be manifest to the industries in which they are exploited. By taking technology as the unit of analysis the model departs from previous work, which has adopted a product-based perspective predominantly. The paper discusses the managerial and research implications associated with the technology life cycle, and indicates how these inform future research directions. As well as contributing to academic knowledge, the results of this research are of value to those who make decisions about the development, exploitation and use of technology including technology developers, engineers, technologists, R & D managers, and designers.