A lightweight knowledge sharing approach for product-service systems development

Publikation: ForskningLicentiatuppsats

Nedladdad 639 gånger


The move towards offering product-service systems (PSS) requires the involvement of stakeholders from heterogeneous functions or companies with knowledge of the different stages of the life cycle. This challenges the way in which organizations create, share, and manage knowledge across functional and corporate boundaries. The management and reuse of knowledge within the cross-functional teams are still enormous tasks, especially when dealing with semi- structured or unstructured information, as well as with informal and tacit knowledge.
The purpose is to explore how a lightweight collaborative approach can support knowledge sharing in cross-functional collaboration in the context of product-service system development. Through an empirical analysis of the knowledge management practices within cross-functional collaborative teams in the aerospace supply chain, this thesis describes the knowledge-related problems in light of the implementation of a PSS paradigm and explores how lightweight collaborative technologies can enable knowledge sharing in boundary-crossing collaborative working environments. The study adopts a qualitative research methodology whose empirical findings are based on two industrial case studies. Data have primarily been generated through interviews, focus group meetings, and survey questionnaires.
The research work outlines the limitations of current knowledge management systems in capturing, managing, and reusing cross-functional knowledge in PSS development in terms of knowledge sharing, pointing to lightweight collaborative technologies as a key knowledge-sharing enabler for PSS development. Furthermore, the study elaborates upon the opportunities and challenges embedded in the lightweight concept by using SWOT analysis as well the development of several scenarios in which social, bottom-up technologies are applied in an engineering context. This approach results in the identification of promising areas for the significant impact of PSS development, such as in identifying new product opportunities, locating the right capabilities in the organization, and capturing the design intent and design rationale. These areas eventually highlight the features and requirements for effective lightweight knowledge sharing in PSS development efforts.
The research work introduces Web 2.0/social software applications and methods as a bottom-up and lightweight collaborative approach for knowledge sharing in PSS development. First, the study determines that these technologies can enhance knowledge sharing by providing empowering opportunities and dynamic way of interactions for knowledge workers. Second, these technologies can improve teams’ capabilities by exploiting the network of connections through the collective creation and maintenance of shared knowledge assets with a common understanding. Such improvements will eventually enhance decision making and sense making in a global, virtual, and cross-functional team setting. Finally-and most importantly- these technologies can amplify access to individual tacit knowledge, thereby ensuring continuous organizational learning.
This research work is particularly significant as the adoption of a Web 2.0/social approach in engineering collaboration is still not eminent. The thesis outlines several issues that have to be addressed from both methodological and technological perspectives before pursuing the wide adoption of lightweight tools in the areas identified.
!!Place of PublicationLuleå
UtgivareLuleå tekniska universitet
ISBN (print)978-91-7439-282-1
StatusPublicerad - jun 2011
SerieLicentiate thesis / Luleå University of Technology
ISBN (print)1402-1757