Implications of the knowledge creation process when outsourcing R&D: A study about outsourcing of R&D among manufacturing companies in Sweden
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
The competition in many markets is getting tougher. In order to be competitive and able to keep up with the development, companies in the manufacturing industry are outsourcing their Research and Development, R&D. Today there is limited knowledge about how outsourcing of R&D affects companies’ knowledge creation process, which can be seen as the foundation for new innovations and competitive advantage. How are the large manufacturing companies’, in Sweden, knowledge creation affected when outsourcing R&D? It should be of great importance for companies to know how they are affected and in that way be able to manage the knowledge creation process more efficiently. The purpose of this thesis is to develop theories about how companies are affected in the knowledge creation process, and could be used for further studies. The empirical material of this study consists of interviews with eight large manufacturing companies, three companies that are suppliers of outsourcing services, and six experts. The results show that outsourcing R&D is essential for their knowledge creation and their competitive advantage. Generally, the knowledge creation ability within the company decreases, while the knowledge creation together with external actors increases. One can see differences of the affects depending of the purpose with the outsourcing decision. When the intention is to build up the company’s own competence the knowledge creation process is affected a great deal. On the other hand, there is less affect when the intention is only to receive a solution on a problem. The way of looking at knowledge transfer has to some extent changed. Companies believe that the most important way of transferring knowledge is through people, but still this is used to a less extent when outsourcing R&D. Companies’ total knowledge is becoming narrower, which leads to that companies who would like to take back an outsourced function cannot do it. This is a result of that companies do not possess enough knowledge and are becoming more dependant of the supplier. The result from this thesis can also be seen in a wider perspective and applied on areas where companies share and create knowledge together with external actors.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-5910OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-5910DiVA: diva2:195815