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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration

No 2002:3:
Organising R&D in a global environment, Increasing dispersed co-operation versus continuos centralisation.

Jon Rognes ()

Abstract: Theories on R&D organisation draw on globalisation literature as well as on communication theories. This mixed discourse is a problem, since mixing levels of logic sometimes cause faulty conclusions. How is this double logic handled in organisations, and what is the effect on R&D organisation? This study investigates R&D activities in multinational companies with several production sites and markets, focusing what reasons and forces are mentioned in relation to the geographical structure of the R&D activities. We assume that there are opposing forces, both dispersing and contracting the R&D activities geographically. The purpose of the paper is to investigate perceived geographically dispersing and contracting forces on R&D activities, and how a possible conflict between these is handled. This is done by studying how the level of dispersion has come to be, what events or decision has caused the dispersion of R&D. We show that trends in R&D dispersion are active in two directions, one dispersing and one contracting, and that these are partly working at separate organisational levels. The dispersing forces are more prevalent at strategic levels, while the contracting forces are more pronounced at the operational level.

Keywords: R&D; Globalization; Communication; Virtual teams; (follow links to similar papers)

14 pages, April 3, 2002

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