"Ambiguity, Managerial Ability and Growth Options" Driouchi T, Chen M, Lyu J, Bennett D and So R. British Journal of Management. This paper studies the role of ambiguity and managerial ability in firm growth options from the perspective of behavioural theory. We argue that managerial ability increases both the identification and exploitation of growth options opportunities, but ambiguity reduces strategic growth options value as a result of information incompleteness and non-Bayesian behaviour. Using a dataset of all US-listed firms, we test the joint effects of ambiguity and managerial ability on growth options value after controlling for standard determinants and endogeneity. The results indicate that ambiguity has a negative effect on growth options value, while ability has a positive effect. We also find that the negative association between ambiguity and growth options is less pronounced with higher managerial ability. These findings underscore the importance of firm heterogeneity in the identification, exercise, and management of strategic and innovative real options opportunities. The paper’s contribution provides relevant management insights into the behavioural antecedents of real options at the firm level as well as highlights that managerial and behavioural characteristics are important determinants of growth options value.
"Ambiguity Aversion in Buyer-Seller Relationships: A Contingent-Claims and Social Network Explanation" Gao Y, Driouchi T and Bennett D, International Journal of Production Economics, Vol 200, 2018. Negotiations between buyers and sellers (or suppliers) of goods and services have become increasingly important due to the growing trend towards international purchasing, outsourcing and global supply networks together with the high uncertainty associated with them. This paper examines the effect of ambiguity aversion on price negotiations using multiple-priors-based real options with non-extreme outcomes. We study price negotiation between a buyer and seller in a dual contingent-claims setting (call option holding buyer vs. put option holding seller) to derive optimal agreement conditions under ambiguity with and without social network effects. We find that while higher ambiguity aversion raises the threshold for commitment for the seller, it has equivocal effects on the buyer’s negotiation prospects in the absence of network control. Conversely when network position and relative bargaining power are accounted for, we find the buyer’s implicit price (or negotiation threshold) decreases (or increases) unequivocally with increasing aversion to ambiguity. Extending extant real options research on price negotiation to the case of ambiguity, this set of results provides new insights into the role of ambiguity aversion and network structures in buyer-seller relationships, including how they influence the range of negotiation agreement between buyers and sellers. The results also help assist managers in formulating robust buying/selling strategies for bargaining under uncertainty. By knowing their network positions and gathering background information or inferring the other party’s ambiguity tolerance beforehand, buyers and sellers can anticipate where the negotiation is heading in terms of price negotiation range and mutual agreement possibilities.
"Modelling Sustainability Performance to Achieve Absolute Reductions in Socio-Ecological Systems" Nunes B T S, Alamino R, Shaw D and Bennett D, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol 132, 2016. As the world’s natural resources dwindle and critical levels of environmental pollution are approached, sustainability becomes a key issue for governments, organisations and individuals. With the consequences of such an issue in mind, this paper introduces a unifying approach to measure the sustainability performance of socio-economic systems based on the interplay between two key variables: essentiality of consumption and environmental impact. This measure attributes to every system a ‘fitness’ value i.e. a quantity that reflects its ability to remain resilient/healthy by avoiding ecological, social and economic collapse as it consumes the available resources. This new measure is tested on a system where there is a limited supply of resources and four basic consumption types. The analysis has theoretical implications as well as practical importance as it can help countries, organisations or even individuals, in finding better ways to measure sustainability performance.
"Strategies for Sustaining Manufacturing Competitiveness: Comparative Case Studies in Australia and Sweden", Soosay C, Nunes B T S, Bennett D, Sohal A, Jabar J and Winroth M, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol 27, No 1, 2016. This paper reports an investigation of local sustainable production in Australia and Sweden aimed at exploring the factors contributing to survival and competitiveness of manufacturing companies. In Australia, six companies were studied in 2010, with comparisons being made with three of them from earlier projects. In Sweden, eight manufacturing companies were studied on two occasions 30 years apart, in 1980 and 2010. To provide a valid comparative perspective a common format for data collection and analysis was used. There has been a shift in the nature of competition in both Sweden and Australia due to an increasing complexity of the global business environment as well as changes in technology and customer expectations. Despite the differences in country context, the findings suggest that all the manufacturing companies have a good awareness of the elements of the market environment and the relationships with their competitive strategy. However, in general, the Swedish companies have more experience of managing the risks and benefits from operating in the international environment. The results of the research are based on a relatively small sample of case companies in a limited number of industrial sectors. There are methodology implications for future research in the area. The research results have practical implications for the manufacturing industry, especially for companies operating in a competitive international environment. The paper is based on original case research and comparative analysis of data from different geographical contexts. It contributes to both theory and management practice about the strategic resources, decision choices, competitive environments and firm values needed to address external market demands as well as in building internal capabilities.
"Green Operations Strategy of a Luxury Car Manufacturer", Nunes B T S, Bennett D J and Shaw D, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Vol 28, No 1, 2016. This paper investigates the strategic environmental decisions of a luxury car manufacturer. Through case study research, the investigation sheds light on why and how the company is adopting green technologies. Being pressured by different stakeholders to become greener, luxury car manufacturers carry significant opportunities for environmental improvement given the nature of their manufacturing processes and products. Because of their low-volume production, manufacturers may be able to increase output and still reduce overall emissions when compared to high-volume manufacturers. This was found to be possible only because of new ideas brought by a change in company ownership. Luxury manufacturers may also be a test-bed for the development and experimentation of green technologies as part of a strategic approach to environmental initiatives. This paper contributes to the fields of green technology adoption and operations strategy in automotive manufacturing groups.
"Os Projetos de Aquisição na Indústria Automotiva - Casos Volvo-Geely e Fiat-Tritec" (Acquisition Projects in the Automotive Industry - The Cases of Volvo-Geely and Fiat-Tritec), Bennett D, Revista MundoPM-Project Management, Vol 11, No 63, 2015. The purpose of this article is to evaluate and compare two contrasting projects in the automotive industry where company acquisition is used as a means of leveraging advantage in product and process technologies. The acquisitions considered are of Tritec Motors Ltda in Brazil by Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT) and Volvo Car Corporation by the Chinese Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. The article examines the motivation for the acquisition, the financial aspects, the practical aspects and the national policy frameworks within which the automotive industry operates in the countries concerned. The areas studied in the acquisition projects include technology transfer, product development and related quality implications.
"Intermediation for Technology Diffusion and User Innovation in a Developing Rural Economy: A Social Learning Perspective", Theodorakopoulos N, Bennett D J and Sanchez Preciado D J, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Vol 26, Nos 7-8, 2014. Technology intermediaries are seen as potent vehicles for addressing perennial problems in transferring technology from university to industry in developed and developing countries. This paper examines what constitutes effective user-end intermediation in a low technology, developing economy context, which is an under-researched topic. The social learning in technological innovation (SLTI) framework is extended using situated learning theory in a longitudinal instrumental case study of an exemplar technology intermediation programme. The paper documents the role that academic-related research and advisory centres can play as intermediaries in brokering, facilitating and configuring technology, against the backdrop of a group of small-scale pisciculture businesses in a rural area of Colombia. In doing so, it demonstrates how technology intermediation activities can be optimised in the domestication and innofusion of technology amongst end-users. The design components featured in this instrumental case of intermediation can inform policy making and practice relating to technology transfer from university to rural industry. Future research on this subject should consider the intermediation components put forward, as well as the impact of such interventions, in different countries and industrial sectors. Such research would allow for theoretical replication and help improve technology domestication and innofusion in different contexts, especially in less developed countries.
"Diversifying into Technical Clothing Manufacture as Entrepreneurial Learning: A Situated Learning Theory Perspective", Theodorakopoulos N, McGowan C, Bennett D J, Kakabadse N and Figueira C, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol 25, No 5, 2014. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate analytically how entrepreneurial action as learning relating to diversifying into technical clothing – i.e. a high value manufacturing sector – can take place. This is particularly relevant to recent discussion and debate in academic and policy-making circles concerning the survival of the clothing manufacture industry in developed industrialised countries. Using situated learning theory (SLT) as the major analytical lens, this case study examines an episode of entrepreneurial action relating to diversification into a high-value manufacturing sector. It is considered on instrumentality grounds, revealing wider tendencies in the management of knowledge and capabilities requisite for effective entrepreneurial action of this kind. Boundary events, brokers, boundary objects, membership structures and inclusive participation that addresses power asymmetries are found to be crucial organisational design elements, enabling the development of inter- and intracommunal capacities. These together constitute a dynamic learning capability, which underpins entrepreneurial action, such as diversification into high-value manufacturing sectors.Future research should take a multiple-case study approach involving firms of different ages, in different development stages, operating in contrasting sectors and should focus on the organisational design elements advanced in this paper and their interplay. It is argued that optimising the function of these organisational design elements is pivotal in the development of the technological knowledge and capabilities required for effective diversification into technical clothing in particular and high-value manufacturing more generally. Through a refinement of SLT in the context of entrepreneurial action, the paper contributes to an advancement of a substantive theory of managing technological knowledge and capabilities for effective diversification into high-value manufacturing sectors.
"Future Challenges for Manufacturing", Bennett D J, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol 25, No 1, 2014. This Editorial Viewpoint explores what changes are taking place in manufacturing technology management with the aim of identifying future challenges that should be represented in the scope of JMTM. The viewpoints uses an analysis of relevant articles in JMTM, published since 2007, which have focused on future challenges for manufacturing. It also draws on two recent reports. While the analysis confirms the inclusion of some subjects already in the journal scope there are elsewhere gaps that merit it being expanded. Evidence for the findings is only from a limited number of articles identified in this journal supplemented by other secondary sources. There are implications for practice concerning the future of manufacturing from the analysis and the sources used, especially the reports. Although it has limitations the article is based on original bibliographic research.
"Sustainable Agricultural Production: An Investigation in Brazilian Semi-Arid Livestock Farms", Nunes B T S, Bennett D J and Júnior S M, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol 64, No 1, 2013. This paper investigates the environmental sustainability and competitiveness perceptions of small farmers in a region in northern Brazil. The main data collection instruments included a survey questionnaire and an analysis of the region’s strategic plan. In total, ninety-nine goat and sheep breeding farmers were surveyed. Data analysis methods included descriptive statistics, cluster analysis, and chi-squared tests. The main results relate to the impact of education, land size, and location on the farmers’ perceptions of competitiveness and environmental issues. Farmers with longer periods of education have higher perception scores about business competitiveness and environmental sustainability than those with less formal education. Farmers who are working larger land areas also have higher scores than those with smaller farms. Lastly, location can yield factors that impact on farmers’ perceptions. In our study, farmers located in Angicos and Lajes had higher perception scores than Pedro Avelino and Afonso Bezerra, despite the geographical proximity of these municipalities. On the other hand, three other profile variables did not impact on farmers’ perceptions, namely: family income, dairy production volume, and associative condition. The authors believe the results and insights can be extended to livestock farming in other developing countries and contribute generally to fostering effective sustainable development policies, mainly in the agribusiness sector.
"Tutorial on How to Publish in a Refereed Journal", Bennett D J, Journal of Technology Management and Innovation, Vol 8, No 1, 2013. Understanding the fundamentals – reasons to publish; types of journal; storage and retrieval; indexing and abstracting. Preparing the article - self evaluation; getting the basics right; finding appropriate journals; choosing an MOT journal. The standing of journals – citation indices; national and institutional journal rankings . Getting the article right – what is “quality” in an article? The key tests when preparing the article; final steps before submission; enabling electronic dissemination and searching The review process - possible outcomes; reasons articles are rejected; typical feedback from referees; revising a paper. Other insights – “tricks of the trade” journal review forms; online submission and review (editors’ and reviewers’ perspectives)
"Gaining Social values of Wireless Technology: An Interpretive Case Study in the Healthcare Institutional Context", Chen W S and Bennett D J, International Journal of Information Management, Vol 33, No 5, 2013. The existing literature has given little consideration to social values of information technology in general or of wireless technology in particular. The purpose of this paper is thus to shed new light on this issue. Based on an interpretive case study, we examine two healthcare organisations and discover that social values are often manifested beyond, as well as within, organisations. A matrix of social values in relation to technology changes and their interactions with various stakeholders is further discussed. The matrix helps understand how various social values emerge from and revolve around organisations’ strategic management of information technology. The implications of the findings about social values are discussed and future research directions are suggested.
"8 Steps for Managing Green Innovation in the Automotive Industry", Nunes B T S, Bennett D J and Shaw D, The European Financial Review, June-July, 2013. There are approximately 1 billion automobiles in the world. In 2012, world production went above 84 million vehicles. With the increasing global demand for cars, it is estimated that there will be 2 billion of them by 2020. In fact, with 10 billion people living on Planet Earth by 2050, we could have around 6 billion cars registered if developing countries follow the same patterns of mobility and car ownership as the USA and Europe. When Henry Ford’s assembly line was aimed at producing for mass market, his philosophical drivers included personal mobility and freedom. For 100 years, cars could deliver this – and they still do in many of the World’s newly industrialised nations. However, nowadays cars are no longer synonymous with personal mobility and freedom. For people living in megacities (think of São Paulo, Tokyo, and Jakarta) the use of automobiles is not only reducing personal mobility and freedom but is also a reason for poor urban air quality, fatal accidents and increasing concerns about end-of-life waste and landfill availability. The question of “greening” the automotive industry no longer has a “yes or no” answer. The debate has moved on from “why” to “how” and “by when”, such that the greening innovations support other business conditions including profitability, customer satisfaction, product safety, and reliability.
"Tracking the Trends in Manufacturing Technology Management", Bennett D J, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol 24, No 1, 2013. This paper explores the practical developments in manufacturing technology management over the last 22 years and links these to some of the subject trends of previous articles in the Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management. Themes and relevant articles have been identified from the Emerald advanced search facility and linked with developments in hard technologies, information technology and production organization. There are numerous examples of where trends in the real world of manufacturing technology management are reflected in changes to the orientation of JMTM articles, but there are still many articles following more well-worn paths of previous academic research. Over time, practitioners can find useful connections between published research and their own emerging areas of concern. The paper is based on original bibliographic research, supplement by extensive editorial and practical experience.
"Transferring Technology from University to Rural Industry within a Developing Country Context: The Case for Nurturing Communities of Practice”, Theodorakopoulos N, Bennett D J and Sanchez Preciado D J, Technovation, Vol 32, Nos 9-10, 2012. The primary aim of this paper is to demonstrate how technology transfer between universities and rural industries in developing countries can be achieved effectively, using independent research and advisory centres as intermediaries. It draws on a longitudinal action research study, which experiments with the process of nurturing and bridging communities of practice amongst recipients of technology and stakeholders concerned with technology diffusion, productivity and economic development. Its empirical evidence is from an academic-related, non-government intervention initiative targeting two small-scale industries, namely fish farming and coffee production, in the Cauca region of Colombia. Results demonstrate how barriers to transfer can be overcome. The intervention is considered as instrumental; its key components and outcomes are discussed in detail.
"Real Options in Management and Organisational Strategy: A Review of Decision Making and Performance Implications", Driouchi T and Bennett D J, International Journal of Management Reviews, Vol 14, No 1, 2012. This paper contributes to the debate on the role of real options theory in business strategy and organisational decision-making. It analyses and critiques the decision-making and performance implications of real options within the management theories of the (multinational) firm, reviews and categorises the organisational, strategic and operational facets of real options management in large business settings. It also presents the views of scholars and practitioners regarding the incorporation and validity of real options in strategy, international management and business processes. The focus is particularly on decision-making and performance attributes of the real options logic concerning strategic investments, governance modes and multinational operations management. These attributes are examined from both a strategic and operating perspective of decision-making in organisations, with also an overview of the empirical evidence on real options decision-making and performance.
"Real Options in Multinational Decision-Making: Managerial Awareness and Risk Implications", Driouchi T and Bennett D J, Journal of World Business, Vol 46, No 2, 2011. This paper is an empirical contribution to the theory of real options in the area of multinational business. It addresses the theme of real options decision-making in multinational corporations (MNCs) and stresses the role of real options attention and managerial learning in company performance. Using a global sample of 278 large multinational corporations with categorised degrees of managerial real options awareness, we examine the risk implications of switching options in multinational operations, and explore the extent to which the real options logic can be classified as “best practice” in decision-making and risk management. Our statistical results reveal that firms which have shown a high managerial awareness about their real options are, as predicted by the theory, able to reduce their downside risk through multinationality, organisational slack and other firm characteristics. This finding does not apply fully to firms without evidence of such an awareness. Also, although real options awareness does not systematically guarantee lower downside risk from operations, supplementary results indicate that firms with evidence of significant investment in the acquisition of real options knowledge tend to outperform competitors that are unaware of their real options. This suggests that if real options are explored and exploited appropriately, real options decision-making can result into superior performance for multinational organisations in the long-term.
"When Cost-Efficient Technologies Meet Politics: A Case Study of Radical Wireless Network Implementation", Chen W S and Bennett D J, Communications of the IBIMA, Vol 2010, 2010. Cost efficiency has been a dominant perspective in the traditional IT literature. However, in complex technology and business environment, the widely recognized cost efficient assumption of information technology has been increasingly challenged. Drawing from a case study of wireless network implementation situated in a politically sensitive workplace, this paper provided practice insights for IT managers in today’s networked economy. More specifically, stories experienced in the case study illustrated that despite well-calculated cost efficiency of wireless network infrastructure, the radical implementation process in the case organization encountered enormous challenges and opposition due to the fact that administrators failed to consider various stakeholders’ positions and interests. Eventually, the implementation objectives and outcome were considerably undermined. Implications from this empirical case research reemphasized the significance of understanding political forces situated in any business environment where different stakeholders hold conflicting interests. Lessons learned from the case story further encouraged IT managers and policy makers to better strategize emerging information technology in general and wireless networks in particular as the whole global society and business environment are increasingly facing an emerging wireless world.
"Managing Wireless Networks in the Healthcare Sector: Emerging Experiences of Cultural Impacts", Chen W S and Bennett D J, Journal of e-Health Management, Vol 2010, 2010. The existing body of knowledge has generally supported that organizational culture plays a significant role in shaping group identity, work pattern, communication schemes, and interpersonal relations; all of these cultural elements are important organizational factors that shape workplaces and operational routines. In the context of emerging information technology, it has also been suggested that organizational culture could affect IT implementation and management. However, little is known about how emerging information technology shapes organizational culture, which in turn helps reshape the organization as a whole. The purpose of this paper is thus to build empirical understanding of how IT in general and emerging wireless networks in particular reshapes organizational culture. Case studies conducted in two hospitals situated in southwest U.S.A. illustrated that the implementation of wireless networks indeed helped shape and/or reshape organizational culture in the healthcare sector and in turn enhance healthcare organizations’ competitiveness in the marketplace. For IT managers and practitioners in healthcare institutions, effective strategy to plan and manage emerging ITs such as wireless networks will thus have long-term implications on cultivating organizational culture that could eventually reshape workplace and competitiveness.
"Green Operations Initiatives in the Automotive Industry: An Environmental Reports Analysis and Benchmarking Study", Nunes B T S and Bennett D J, Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol 17, No 3, 2010. This paper focuses on investigating and benchmarking green operations initiatives in the automotive industry documented in the environmental reports of selected companies. The investigation roadmaps the main environmental initiatives taken by the world’s three major car manufacturers and benchmarks them against each other. The categorisation of green operations initiatives provided in the paper can also help companies in other sectors to evaluate their green practices. The first part of the paper is based on existing literature on the topic of green and sustainable operations and the “unsustainable” context of automotive production. The second part relates to the roadmap and benchmarking of green operations initiatives based on an analysis of secondary data from the automotive industry. The findings show that the world’s three major car manufacturers are pursing various environmental initiatives involving the following Green Operations Practices: green buildings, ecodesign, green supply chains, green manufacturing, reverse logistics and innovation. The limitations of this paper start from its selection of the companies, which was made using production volume and country of origin as the principal criteria. There is ample evidence that other, smaller, companies are pursuing more sophisticated and original environmental initiatives. Also, there might be a gap between what companies say they do in their environmental reports and what they actually do. This paper helps practitioners in the automotive industry to benchmarking themselves against the major volume manufacturers in three different continents. Practitioners from other industries will also find it valuable to discover how the automotive industry is pursuing environmental initiatives beyond manufacturing, apart from the Green Operations Practices, covering broadly all the activities of the operations function. The originality of the paper is in its up-to-date analysis of environmental reports of automotive companies. There is value for researchers and practitioners due to its contribution to the green operations literature. For instance, the inclusion of green buildings as part of Green Operations Practices has so far been neglected by most researchers and authors in the field of green and sustainable operations.
"Managing Enterprise Resource Planning Projects", Dey P K, Clegg B T and Bennett D J, Business Process Management Journal, Vol 16, No 2, 2010. The main objective of this paper is to help managers to successfully plan, implement and operate enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects using a risk management framework. The study adopts a combined literature review and case study method. Using the literature review the study first identifies major issues of managing ERP projects and develops a risk management framework for managing those issues. The proposed risk management framework is then applied to an ERP implementation project of a UK-based energy services group and its effectiveness for managing ERP projects implementation has been demonstrated. Additionally, the risk factors as identified from the case application are compared with the risk factors from the previous researches so as to suggest mitigating measures. All the risk factors are categorized into planning, implementation and operations phases along with project processes, organizational transformation and information technology perspectives. The project implementation phase is the most vulnerable to failure. The case study results reveal that the effect of other projects on on-going ERP project, management of overall IT architecture and non-availability of resources for organizational transformation were most critical from likelihood and impact perspectives. Managing risk across various phases of project and equal emphasis on effective project management, organizational transformation and information technology adoption are the key to success in ERP implementation. The risk factors, which were identified using literature review and the case study, have great significance because mitigating measures for those risks can result in successful implementation of ERP projects in industry. Additionally, the proposed risk management framework could be customized for implementation of ERP projects elsewhere. ERP projects are risky as they are capital intensive, technically complex and call for organizational transformation. There are both success and failure stories. However, both researchers and practitioners agree that if they can be implemented and operated successfully then benefits should be achievable. Although there are many studies on ERP implementation, little has been discussed on managing risks of ERP projects. Therefore, this study bridges that gap.
"A Path Dependent Contingent-Claims Approach to Capacity Investments", Driouchi T, Bennett D J and Simpson G, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol 201, No 1, 2010. This note presents a contingent-claims approach to strategic capacity planning. We develop models for capacity choice and expansion decisions in a single firm environment where investment is irreversible and demand is uncertain. These models illustrate specifically the relevance of path-dependent options analysis to planning capacity investments when the firm adopts demand tracking or average capacity strategies. It is argued that Asian/average type real options can explain hysteresis phenomena in addition to providing superior control of assets in place.
"Advanced Manufacturing Technology Adoption in Developing Countries: The Role of Buyer-Supplier Relationships", Abd Rahman A and Bennett D J, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol 20, No 8, 2009. Developing countries depend on foreign providers to ensure successful adoption of new technology. This paper investigates the role of buyer-supplier relationships (BSR) in technology adoption using a survey of 147 Malaysian firms. In particular the authors examined the impact on performance of different patterns of buyer-supplier relationship. Results show that firms demonstrating closer relationships with their suppliers are more likely to achieve higher levels of performance than those that do not. There are also insights that are especially pertinent to an improved understanding of buyer-supplier relationships in the procurement of capital equipment, about which the current research literature is limited.
"Playing Catch-up with China: Challenges and Strategies for Smaller Developing Countries" Leseure M, Hurreeram D and Bennett D J, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Vol 21, No 5, 2009. This paper considers how smaller developing countries can compete with China by examining the cases of two such countries; Mauritius and Morocco. In order to supplement their more traditional extractive and agro-based industries they have developed important textile and apparel sectors , supplying principally the EU. However, the textile industries in both countries have recently come under intense competitive pressure from China with its much lower production costs and huge capacity. This paper compares and contrasts the conditions under which Mauritius and Morocco have developed their textile industries as well as exploring the challenges they now face from China and the ways in which they have reacted to them. It also examines the wider industrial policy of both countries and the extent to which they have acquired the capability to meet the threats that now face them. Some specific strategies and actions are also described and evaluated with a view to providing advice and guidance for other smaller developing countries that face similar challenges in these and other industries.
"Technology and Business Integration" Bennett D J with Dey P K, Ho W and Albores P, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Vol 21, No 5, 2009. Today’s businesses are driven both by ‘pull’ from customers and technological ‘push’. On one hand, organisations try to satisfy increasingly strenuous demand, while on the other hand they must ensure the adoption of new technologies to maintain efficient operations within the value chain. These operations involve identifying customer needs, designing and developing new products, planning production, procurement, manufacturing,warehousing and distribution of finished goods to customers. Additionally, in order to remain competitive, organisations must continuously assess the changing business environment and analyse their capabilities, which will lead them to develop appropriate competitive strategies. The papers in this special issue of TASM are disparate in terms of the subjects and specific problems they address. However, they all demonstrate the importance of integration between the technology management and other business functions. This will undoubtedly become more important as businesses continue relying on networks of stakeholders to work within an increasingly competitive environment.
"The Precursors and Impacts of BSR on AMT Acquisition and Implementation", Abd Rahman A, Brookes N and Bennett D J, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Vol 56, No 2, 2009. This paper reports on the results of research into the connections between transaction attributes and buyer-supplier relationships (BSR) in advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) acquisition and implementation. The investigation began by examining the impact of the different patterns of BSR on the performance of the AMT acquisition. In understanding the phenomena, the study drew upon and integrated the literature of transaction cost economics theory, buyer-supplier relationships, and advanced manufacturing technology and used this as the basis for a theoretical framework and hypotheses development. This framework was then empirically tested using data that were gathered through a questionnaire survey with 147 companies and analysed using a structural equation modelling technique. The results of the analysis indicated that the higher the level of technological specificity and uncertainty, the more firms are likely to engage in a stronger relationship with technology suppliers. However, the complexity of the technology being implemented was associated with BSR only indirectly through its association with the level of uncertainty (which has a direct impact upon BSR.) The analysis also provided strong support for the premise that developing strong BSR could lead to an improved performance in acquiring and implementing AMT. The implications of the study are offered for both the academic and practitioner audience.
"A Robustness Framework for Monitoring Real Options Under Uncertainty", Driouchi T, Leseure M and Bennett D J, OMEGA - The International Journal of Management Science, Vol 37, No 3, 2009. This paper presents a problem structuring methodology to assess real option decisions in the face of unpredictability. Based on principles of robustness analysis and scenario planning, we demonstrate how decision-aiding can facilitate participation in projects setting and achieve effective decision making through the use of real options reasoning. We argue that robustness heuristics developed in earlier studies can be practical proxies for real options performance, hence indicators of efficient flexible planning. The developed framework also highlights how to integrate real options solutions in firms' strategic plans and operating actions. The use of the methodology in a location decision application is provided for illustration.
"Transaction Attributes and Buyer-Supplier Relationships in AMT Acquisition and Implementation: The Case of Malaysia", Abd Rahman A, Bennett D J and Sohal A, International Journal of Production Research, Vol 47, No 9, 2009. This paper explores how transaction attributes of technology affect differences in the relationship between technology buyers and suppliers. It also examines the impact on performance of different patterns of relationship between technology buyers and suppliers. Data obtained from 147 manufacturing firms in Malaysia are used to test several hypotheses, which were derived from a review of the literature on technology, transaction cost theory and buyer-supplier relationships (BSR). The research results indicate that the higher the level of technological complexity, specificity and uncertainty, the more firms are likely to engage in a closer relationship with technology suppliers. Even though the majority of firms reported improvements in their performance, results indicate that firms demonstrating a closer relationship with technology suppliers are more likely to achieve higher levels of performance than those that do not. It is also shown that with high levels of transaction attribute, implementation performance suffers more when firms have weak relationships with technology suppliers than with moderate and low levels of transaction attribute.
"The Contribution of Modularity to Green Operations Practices", Nunes B T S and Bennett D J, Brazilian Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol 5, No 2, 2008. This paper discusses the possible contributions from modularity and industrial condominiums towards enhancing environmental performance in the automotive industry. The research described in this study is underpinned by a review of journal articles and books on the topics of: modularity of production systems; green operations practices, and the automotive industry and sustainability. The methodology is based on theoretical analysis of the contribution of the modular production system characteristics used in the automotive industry for Green Operations Practices (GOP). The following GOPs were considered: green buildings, eco design, green supply chains, greener manufacturing, and reverse logistics. The results are theoretical in nature; however, due to the small number of studies that investigate the relationship between modularity and sustainability, this work is relevant to increase knowledge in academic circles and among practitioners in order to understand the possible environmental benefits from modular production systems. For instance, based upon our analysis, we could deduce that the existing modular production systems in the automotive industry may contribute in different ways to the implementation of GOPs. In all types of modularity, product simplification through the use of modules can enhance environmental performance and facilitate further activities such as maintenance and repair contributing to a longer life of cars on the road. Moreover, modules will make automobiles easier to disassembly, so increasing the chances of reuse of valuable components and a better final disposal of scrap. Regarding the potential benefits of each type of modularity, it is expected that modular consortia will have a better integration of environmental practices with suppliers and seize on high efficiency during manufacturing and logistics compared with conventional production systems.
"Emerging Issues in Management of Networked Manufacturing Enterprises", Jain V, Benyoucef L and Bennett D J, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol 19, No 4, 2008. Nowadays, in a hotly competitive environment, enterprises are continuously trying to provide products and/or services to customers faster, cheaper, and better than competitors do. Managers have learned that they cannot do it alone; rather, they must work on a cooperative basis with other enterprises in order to succeed. Although the resulting enterprise networks are more competitive, the tasks for planning, management and optimisation are much more difficult and complex. While alliance like enterprise networks with the underlying supply network represent tremendous business opportunities, they also make the involved enterprises face greater uncertainties and risks. Firstly, networks or some of the underlying supply chains have to be modified or dissolved once the business opportunities evolve or disappear. Secondly, changes or major perturbations at one enterprise may propagate through the whole network to other enterprises and hence influence on their performances. The evolvement from single enterprise with a high-vertical range of manufacture towards enterprise networks offers new business opportunities especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are usually more flexible than larger enterprises are. However, in order to be successful, performances and expected benefits have to be carefully evaluated and balanced in order to become a partner of the right network for the right task. All these issues have to be taken into account in order to find an efficient, flexible and sustainable solution. In the area of production, these networks involve transformation processes from raw material through several stages of manufacturing, assembly and distribution to finished products, which are finally delivered to customers. It also includes flow of information and finance in addition to the material flow. Each stage of material transformation or distribution may involve inputs coming from several suppliers and outputs going to several intermediate customers. Each stage may involve information and materials flow connected with some intermediate and distant stages. The underlying networked enterprises (supply chain networks) are complex and their analysis requires a carefully defined approach. Moreover, as technological complexity has increased, supply chains and thus such production networks have become more dynamic and complex to handle. Consequently, it is easy to get lost in details and spend a large amount of efforts for analysing the supply chain without meaningful results. Another issue coming along with the design and management of enterprise networks is the great variety of available policies and alternatives for each of these problems (design and management), by the need to assess complex trade-offs between conflicting objectives (cost, product quality, delivery time, etc).
"Is China's Manufacturing Sector Becoming More High-Tech? Evidence on Shifts in Comparative Advantage, 1987 - 2005", Vaidya K G, Bennett D J and Liu X, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol 18, No 8, 2007. This paper assesses the extent to which China's comparative advantage in manufacturing has shifted towards higher-tech sectors between 1987 and 2005 and proposes possible explanations for the shift. Revealed comparative advantage (RCA) indices for 27 product groups, representing high, medium and low-tech sectors have been calculated. Examination of international market attractiveness complements the RCA analysis. Findings for selected sectors are evaluated in the context of other evidence. While China maintains its competitiveness in low-tech labour-intensive products, it has gained RCA in selected medium-tech sectors (e.g. office machines and electric machinery) and the high-tech telecommunications and automatic data processing equipment sectors. Evidence from firm and sector specific studies suggests that improved comparative advantage in medium and high-tech sectors is based on capabilities developing through combining international technology transfer and learning.
"The Future of Manufacturing", Bennett D J, Fleury A C and Gregory M G, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol 18, No 8. 2007. This special issue of JMTM presents a brief, but undisputable, demonstration of the possible richness of manufacturing in the future. Indeed, we could even say that manufacturing has no future if we only stick to the past perspectives. Embracing the new is not easy. The new configurations of production systems, the distributed and complementary roles to be performed by distinct types of companies in diversified networked structures, leveraged by the new emergent technologies and associated the new challenges for managing people, are all themes that are carriers of the future. The Guest Editors of this special issue on the future of manufacturing are strongly convinced that their undertaking has been worthwhile.
"Success Strategies in the Chinese Chemical Industry: A Survey and Case Study Investigations", Cheng J and Bennett D J, Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Vol 5, No 2, 2007. The chemical industry in China is facing fierce competition and exposure to market forces as a result of changes in the country's economic policy. The Chinese government has applied administrative actions rather than simply relying on market forces to address the changing dynamics. It has attempted to privatise state-owned chemical enterprises (SOCEs) by corporatisation, coupled with industrial restructuring by merging individual state-owned enterprises into groups. Based on a quantitative survey in combination with case studies of two Chinese chemical enterprises this paper concludes that in this industry building competences is more effective than privatisation and restructuring to improve performance.
"Development and Application of an Electronic-Manufacturing Selection Framework for SMEs", Tan B L and Bennett D J, International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management, Vol 4, No 3, 2007. With a wide diversity of available technologies, it is extremely problematic for SMEs to identify, plan, prioritise and use the correct strategy. Electronic-manufacturing has been evolving for some time, but currently an effective planning framework to assist managers with implementing electronic-manufacturing planning is still lacking. A framework, built around three elements: the Balanced Scorecard, Quality Function Deployment and Value Chain Analysis, is proposed here to assist SMEs in managing complexity in e-manufacturing planning. A case study, carried out in Singapore, demonstrates the practicality and utility of the framework in the context of a real business environment.
"University to Business Technology Transfer - UK and USA Comparisons", Decter M, Bennett D J and Leseure M, Technovation, Vol 27, No 3, 2007. University to business technology transfer offers specific challenges, beyond those encountered in industry more widely. This paper examines the issues in university to business technology transfer in the UK and USA and presents the results of a survey of UK and US university technology transfer officers. Findings indicate significant differences in the motivations of universities in each country to transfer technology, the consistency of university technology transfer policies and the accessibility of university technologies to business. The study also looks at perceived barriers to university to business technology transfer and offers suggestions for possible improvements to the process.
"Enhancing Performance Through the Introduction of Customer Orientation into the Building Components Industry", Karvinen K and Bennett D J, International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol 55, No 5, 2006. This paper describes an investigation into how company performance can be improved by integrating internal and external customers and technology. The approach was developed, implemented and evaluated in the operations of the building components industry. The research was carried out in the precast concrete division of a Singapore company. For the purpose of undertaking the investigation an exploratory case study approach was used. This was divided into conceptual and action research stages. The action research was also used to implement the changes in the company. Questionnaire surveys were carried out among company employees and external customers to assess the effect of these changes. Results of the investigation were derived using content and statistical analysis. Triangulation between three sources was used for validating the data. The exploratory case study strategy resulted in rich research data, which provided evidence of the changes taking place and integration happening, leading to improved performance. The action research approach proved a powerful tool where the uncertainty of outcomes makes it near impossible to make accurate forecasts. Another output of the research was the development of an "Integrated Customer Orientation" (ICO) model. The research made contributions to a number of areas of production and marketing as well as productivity improvement and organisational development. It also fulfilled the dual objectives of action research by contributing to knowledge and practice.
"Strategies for Performance Improvement in the Chinese Chemical Industry: Evidence from Case Study Investigations", Cheng J and Bennett D J, Journal of Technology Management in China, Vol 1, No 2, 2006. The Chinese chemical industry is facing fierce competition and exposure to market forces due to changes in the country's economic policy. To address the changing market dynamics the Chinese Government has applied direct administrative actions rather than simply relying on the market. It has attempted to privatise government-owned enterprises using corporatisation, coupled with industrial restructuring, by merging individual state-owned enterprises into groups. This paper uses case studies of two Chinese chemical enterprises to explore the proposition that building competences is more effective than privatisation and restructuring to improve performance. The case research was complemented by a survey in the Chinese chemical industry, the results of which have been reported elsewhere.
"Meeting Technology Needs of Enterprises for National Competitiveness", Bennett D J and Vaidya K G, International Journal of Technology Management, Vol 32, No 1/2, 2005. This paper addresses the question of how enterprises can improve their competitiveness through the acquisition and development of technology, and hence how countries are able to raise the level of industrial development and grow their GDP. It takes the example of East Asia to demonstrate how fast economic growth can be achieved through the "stages" approach to technology acquisition and development. It also provides some case studies of technology transfer to China as a means of illustrating how successful transfer can be achieved and the problems that can be encountered. Finally, some comparisons are made with, and among, the Arab countries and an attempt is made to draw some lessons for the development of the Arab world from experiences gained elsewhere.
"A Virtual Learning Environment for Operations Management: Assessing the student's perspective", Greasley A, Bennett D J and Greasley K, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol 24, No 10, 2004. This paper describes a project aimed at assessing the experience of a virtual learning environment (VLE) among students studying courses in Operations Management. The project was supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) under its Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund (TQEF). The main aim of the project was through the use of a questionnaire to establish the student experience of using a VLE through an examination of the learning and technical features which they encountered. The study also examines the approaches to learning adopted by the students, through the inclusion of a shortened version of the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) which the students were asked to complete.
"An Empirical Study of the Imperatives for a Supply Chain Implementation Project in Seagate Technology", Bay B K, Tang N K H and Bennett D J, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol 9, No 4, 2004. Singapore's electronics manufacturers are facing many questions today. For example, in the computer hard-drive industry, where the problem of obsolescence is common and where a product's life cycle may be only six months, manufacturers are anxious to know what will be the next order winning criteria. Since low labour costs are no longer a key factor many organisations are developing their core competencies in Research and Development, Sales and Marketing, Logistics and Supply Chain Management (SCM) in order to maintain competitiveness. This paper illustrates how Seagate has envisaged a new climate of cooperation and collaboration to better serve its customers in the areas of technology, cost and delivery. The paper is based on observations and findings following a longitudinal case study approach with specific participation at the Seagate Storage Product Group (SPG) in Singapore. The seven-stage implementation framework adopted by Seagate in their SCM project will be discussed together with the process of how Seagate has created a paradigm shift towards a new culture that moves Seagate away from a functional internal environment towards a teamwork-based collaborative culture as a result of this project.
"International Technology Transfer: Perceptions and Reality of Quality and Reliability", Bennett D J and Zhao H, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol 15, No 5, 2004. Impressions about product quality and reliability can depend as much on perceptions about brands and country of origin as on data regarding performance and failure. This has implications for companies in developing countries that need to compete with importers. For manufacturers in industrialised countries it has implications for the value of transferred technologies. This article considers the issue of quality and reliability when technology is transferred between countries with different levels of development. It is based on UK and Chinese company case studies and questionnaire surveys undertaken among three company groups: UK manufacturers; Chinese manufacturers; Chinese users. Results show that all three groups recognise quality and reliability as important and support the premise that foreign technology based machines made in China carry a price premium over Chinese machines based on local technology. Closer examination reveals a number of important differences concerning the perceptions and reality of quality and reliability between the groups.
"Managerial Perceptions of Factors Influencing Technology Management in South Africa", Hipkin I and Bennett D J, Technovation, Vol 23, No 9, 2003. A challenge for developing countries is to become part of the global economy. Their economic well being is dependent on their ability to attain the levels of technological development which could make them globally competitive. Infrastructural and educational problems pose immediate barriers which should be addressed as these countries embark on projects to enhance their technological base. The technology selected should be appropriate for the country's level of development and expertise. The implementation of that technology will place a new set of demands on managers and workers. This paper describes an investigation of perceptions of technology management in South Africa, a country which is developed in certain areas, but which remains desperately poor in other respects. South Africa's politics and history have always confronted managers with unique demands. The paper examines the perceptions of 132 South African managers regarding technology management by studying the relationship between the importance of different factors in managing new technology, and the extent to which a manager can control them. An importance-control grid framework is used to isolate individual parameters and to assess these in relation to the complexity of a manager's environment. The research highlights imbalances between importance and control, and suggests reasons therefor. Some broader implications for managers are also discussed.
"Agile or Adaptable? Finding a Paradigm for an Uncertain World", Bennett D J, International Journal of Agile Manufacturing, Vol 6, No 2, 2003. This paper looks at the way in which, over recent years, paradigms for manufacturing management have evolved as a result of changing economic and environmental circumstances. The lean production concept, devised during the 1980s, proved robust only until the end of the bubble economy in Japan caused firms to re-examine the underlying principles of the lean production paradigm and redesign their production systems to suit the changing circumstances they were facing. Since that time a plethora of new concepts have emerged, most of which have been based on improving the way that firms are able to respond to the uncertainties of the new environment in which they have found themselves operating. The main question today is whether firms should be agile or adaptable. Both concepts imply a measure of responsiveness, but recent changes in the nature of the uncertainties have heightened the debate about what strategies should be adopted in the future.
"UNIDO and the World Summit on Sustainable Development: Innovative Technology Transfer Framework Linked to Trade for UNIDO Action", Bennett D J and Vaidya K G, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Vienna, Austria, 2002. This paper is an input into the UNIDO initiative on "Technology Transfer: Assessing Needs - Promoting Action" to be launched at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) where technology transfer from industrialised to developing countries is likely to emerge as an important issue. The terms of reference for the paper are to (a) summarise the current understanding on the process of technology transfer and its contribution to adaptation and innovation, (b) identify linkages between technology transfer and trade, taking account of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), (c) assess the UNIDO technology transfer operations in general, and (d) based on the above research, prepare a "Technology Transfer Framework Linked to Trade for UNIDO Action".
"Transfer of Technology to China: A Scandinavian and European Perspective", Bruun P and Bennett D J, European Management Journal, Vol 20, No 1, 2002. This paper examines the question of technology transfer from the perspective of techno-economic security and how companies respond to the possibility of losing competitive advantage through misappropriation or leakage. It explores transfers from Europe to China and addresses in particular the operations of Scandinavian companies within the context of the general picture for other European firms. Its point of departure is the authors' earlier research that looked at the motivations for transfer and the awareness of companies of techno-economic security issues. This has been supplemented by new data gathered by the authors from a number of Scandinavian companies in China. Specific actions have been identified and the ownership issue is introduced together with consideration of the role of the companies against the `Ferdows' model. The analysis shows that the nature of the security question has changed together with the evolving context in which the companies are operating. In turn, the response of companies is contingent on a number of factors including the time horizon of the strategy for a unit in China and thenature of the strategy. It is also influenced by the form of ownership and management style in a particular organisation.
"Impacts and Relationships Between Three Evolving Disciplines", Drejer A, Bennett D J and Sohal A, International Journal of Technology Management, Vol 23, No 1/2/3, 2002. This paper is concerned with three evolving disciplines, namely Management of Technology (MoT), Operations Management (OM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM). These three disciplines have emerged at different times, SCM being the most recent, although they also seem to be concerned, at least in some part, with the same managerial problem areas. Based on this underlying assumption, the paper lays the ground for this special issue of the International Journal of Technology Management, which is devised to provide a platform for discussion concerning the impacts, relationships and possible synergies between the three disciplines that very much seem to be driving the attention of a lot of recent management thinking.
"International Technology Transfer and Collaborative New Product Development: Evidence and a Case from the Machine Tool Industry", Bennett D J, Vaidya K G, Zhao H and Brittan S, International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, Vol. 1, No. 1/2, 2001. In recent years it has become increasingly common for companies to improve their competitiveness and find new markets by extending their operations through international new product development collaborations involving technology transfer. Technology development, cost reduction and market penetration are seen as the foci in such collaborative operations with the aim being to improve the competitive position of both partners. In this paper the case of technology transfer through collaborative new product development in the machine tool sector is used to provide a typical example of such partnerships. The paper outlines the links between the operational aspects of collaborations and their strategic objectives. It is based on empirical data collected from the machine tool industries in the UK and China. The evidence includes longitudinal case studies and questionnaire surveys of machine tool manufacturers in both countries. The specific case of BSA Tools Ltd and its Chinese partner the Changcheng Machine Tool Works is used to provide an in depth example of the operational development of a successful collaboration. The paper concludes that a phased co-ordination of commercial, technical and strategic interactions between the two partners is essential for such collaborations to work.
"Benchmarking for Information Systems Management Using Issues Framework Studies: Content and Methodology", Shi N S and Bennett D J, Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol 8, No 5, 2001. As a means of benchmarking their position and assisting with anticipating an uncertain future, the identification of critical information systems (IS) management issues frameworks is becoming an increasingly important research task for both academics and industrialists. This paper provides a description and summary of previous work on identifying IS issues frameworks by reviewing twenty research investigations in terms of what they studied and how they were conducted. It also suggests some possible directions and methodologies for future research. The summary and suggestions for further work are applicable for issues framework research in the IS management field as well as in other business and management areas.
"Technology Transfer to China: A Study of Strategy in 20 EU Industrial Companies", Bennett D J, Liu X, Parker D, Steward F and Vaidya K G, International Journal of Technology Management, Vol. 21, No. 1/2, 2001. Foreign direct investment has been important in China's economic development since the early 1980s. In recent years the volume of inward FDI into China, according to some estimates, has been second only to that into the United States. The Chinese government has emphasised the need for FDI to be coupled with the transfer of more advanced technologies to China. For foreign companies technology transfer raises the risk of losing their technology based competitive advantage to potential competitor firms. This risk may be exacerbated by insufficient legal protection of intellectual property rights in China. After briefly reviewing the development of Chinese official policy on technology transfer, this paper considers the strategy adopted by EU companies regarding the transfer of technology; in particular in advanced technology sectors. The research on which the paper is based included an analysis of information gathered from 20 leading EU companies with investments in China and operating in high-technology sectors. Information was gathered from senior company managers based in both China and Europe during the second half of 1998. The main findings include a measure of reluctance on the part of EU companies to transfer their core technologies to China and to base R and D capability there. At the same time, the companies appear aware that this policy may be unsustainable in the longer-term in the face of Chinese official policy and a desire to expand their operations in China. While they attempt to protect their existing technological knowledge, most of them accept that there will be technology 'leakage' and therefore the most effective strategy is to maintain their technological lead through R and D.
"Information Systems Management Positions - A Market Perspective", Shi N S and Bennett D J, Work Study, Vol. 49, No. 7, 2000. Information systems (IS) managers have become key senior executives for organising the IT resources for delivering support to businesses. Understanding characteristics of IS managers' employment positions is hence an increasingly important topic in computer personnel research. An investigation in Singapore that included a job advertisement analysis, surveys and case studies was thus conducted to investigate such aspects. This article presents the findings of the job advertisement analysis concerning what kinds of IS managers the market is seeking and what are the basic conditions for such management positions. The literature in this area asserts that job advertisements represent firms' wishes and the nature of the conditions required of different IS personnel. The results of this analysis therefore reflect a collective market perspective about the changing IS managerial workplace. The results of the analysis benefit both firms and IS employees in formulating personnel development plans and actions, and raise issues for further research.
"Technological and Organisational Change in Small Manufacturing Companies: A Learning Organisation Perspective", Oakes I, Lee G L and Bennett D J, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol. 20, No. 5, 2000. This paper focuses on the experiences of three UK automotive component suppliers, which are all experiencing pressures for change driven by the major vehicle manufacturers. The main changes are concerned with tiering of the supply chain and substantial delegation of responsibilities down the supply chain including an increasing emphasis on innovation and continuous improvement. The pilot study presented in the paper is part of a research project into the impact of changes in supply chain relationships on the operation of small manufacturing firms in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom. The companies are responding to change by becoming more innovative and are exhibiting many of the attributes of the theoretical 'Learning Organisation'. The paper provides an insight into the ways in which some of the common characteristics of a Learning Organisation have been adopted by the case companies and discusses the extent to which the Learning Organisation experience has enabled the companies to facilitate technological and organisational change in their quest for enhanced competitiveness.
"Valuing Transferred Machine Tool Technology: Relating Value to Product Attributes and Preferences of Acquirers", Bennett D J, Vaidya K G and Zhao H, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol 19, Nos 5/6, 1999. The value of technology and the appropriate form of transfer arrangement are important questions to be resolved when transferring technology between Western manufacturing firms and partners in industrialising and developing countries. This article reports on surveys carried out in the machine tool industries in the UK and China to establish the differences and similarities between owners and acquirers of technology regarding the relative importance of the factors they evaluate, and the assessments they make, when considering a technology transfer. It also outlines the development of a framework for technology valuation. The survey results indicate that the value of product technology is related to superior technical performance, especially on reliability and functionality, and the prospects of premium prices and increased sales of the technology transfer based machine tools. Access to markets is the main objective of UK companies, while Chinese companies are concerned about improving their technological capability. There are significant risks, especially related to performance in the market, and while owners and acquirers have benefited in the short term, the long term collaboration required for strategic benefits has been difficult to achieve because of the different priorities of the owners and the acquirers.
"Agility, Adaptability and Leanness: A Comparison of Concepts and a Study of Practice", Katayama H and Bennett D J, International Journal of Production Economics, Vol 60/61, 1999. This paper deals with three concepts of concern to manufacturing management; agile manufacturing, adaptable production and lean production. These concepts are described and compared within the context of the modern competitive situation in Japan. A survey of Japanese firms is described where the concepts are explored through a number of questions concerned with strategy, action programmes and performance measures. Many companies have responded to the change in economic conditions through a modification of their production operations and by changing their cost structure. The results suggest that companies are trying to realise their cost adaptability through agility enhancement activities.
"China and European Economic Security: Study on Medium to Long Term Impact of Technology Transfer to China", Bennett D J, Liu X, Parker D , Steward F and Vaidya K, Report prepared for European Commission Directorate General I, July 1999. The central objective of this study was to assess the potential impact on EU competitiveness, over the medium to long term, of the transfer of European advanced technology (including R&D capacity) to China. In the study, technology transfer has been defined as the acquisition and application of foreign technology by Chinese enterprises and institutes in any of the following forms: (a) technical ideas, information or data (b) personal technical skills and expertise and (c) equipment, prototypes, designs and computer codes. The study included the following main components: (a) an appraisal of China’s policy to upgrade its technology and analysis of available data on technology transfer transactions; (b) analysis of available statistical evidence to assess the shift of Chinese industry towards high technology sectors; (c) examination of technology collaboration development and experiences of European businesses and Chinese enterprises and institutes, and (d) a strategic appraisal of the central question, the medium to long term implications of the transfer of advanced technology to China.
"Critical Success Factors for IS Executive Careers: Evidence from Case Studies", Shi N S and Bennett D J, Computer Personnel, Vol 19, No 3., 1998. This article qualitatively analyzes the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for Information Systems (IS) executive careers based on evidence gathered from five case studies carried out in 1997. Typical IS executive career paths are presented within a time series style and the CSFs are interpreted within a descriptive framework by synthesising the case data based on Social Cognitive Theory. The descriptive framework suggests that successful IS executive careers would most likely be achieved by well educated and experienced IS employees who have the right attitude towards both their career and work, together with good performance. They would also exhibit an ability for self-learning and to anticipate future IT uses, as well as having proficient IS management knowledge and skills while working with an appropriate organizational environment. Moreover, the framework systematically indicates the interactions between the coupling factors in the typical career development processes. This provides a benchmark for employees that are aiming at a senior IS executive career against which they can compare their own achievements and aspirations. It also raises propositions for further research on theory building.
"Requisite IS Knowledge and Skills Construct: A Survey", Shi N S and Bennett D J, Computer Personnel, Vol 19, No 1, 1998. A review of the literature suggests that various IS knowledge and skills should be grouped into a construct because many IS tasks require a combination of diverse disciplines. Many studies argue that today's IS executives should be multidisciplinary, while the organizational skills are becoming increasingly important. However, the outstanding issue is what is the appropriate balance of disciplines between the organizational domain and technical domain. For understanding such a balance, it is easier to refer to quantitative proportions than to qualitative descriptions. Therefore, this study suggests a way to quantitatively identify a management knowledge and skills construct - a combination that comprises six related knowledge and skills categories suggested by the literature. By analyzing the data obtained in a 1996s survey, two such constructs for current proficiency and expected level have been quantitatively identified. To people aiming at a senior IS executive career, the deficiencies between current and expected constructs suggest not only the direction but also the extent should be enhanced, and the constructs indicate the balance among various disciplines should be maintained.
"Transferring Manufacturing Technology to China: Supplier Perceptions and Acquirer Expectations", Bennett D J, Zhao H, Vaidya K G and Wang X M, Integrated Manufacturing Systems - The International Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol 8, No 5, 1997. Results of complementary surveys of foreign and Chinese manufacturing enterprises with respect to their objectives and expectations regarding technology transfer into China show that the major strategic objective of foreign enterprises, to gain access to the Chinese market, fits well with Chinese enterprises’ main objective of improving domestic competitiveness but less well with that of accessing world markets through technology transfer. Foreign firms rate highly the capability of Chinese enterprises to learn new technologies and also find the Chinese macro environment for business favourable. The survey results provide information that will help managers with their negotiations on co-operating with prospective partners for the transfer of technology as well as assisting policy makers who wish to facilitate more effective transfer arrangements.
"Perceptions on the Transfer of Technology to China: A Survey of British Companies", Zhao H, Bennett D J, Vaidya K G and Wang X M, Technology Management: Strategies and Applications, Vol 3, No 3, 1997. Evidence from a survey shows that British engineering companies with a business interest in China recognise the potential benefits from technology transfer to China. The major strategic objective in transferring technology to China is to gain access to the Chinese market. British firms have a high opinion of the capability of Chinese enterprises to learn to use new technologies but they give a low rating to their managerial and technological capabilities and quality of existing equipment. Foreign companies appear to have a cautiously favourable view of the economic and political environment but the legal framework for doing business, time consuming negotiations, inconvenience of communications, bureaucracy, and unclear organizational authority are identified as the most difficult problems.
"Technology Transfer and Chinese Government Policy: Opportunities and Implications for Business", Bennett D J, Vaidya K G, Wang X M and Zhu F, Technology Management: Strategies and Applications, Vol 3, No 2, 1997. State-owned enterprises in China have been given greater autonomy and responsibility, have freer access to foreign technology, and are being encouraged to form groups to gain from rationalization and integration. This article uses case studies to identify the key strategic issues that affect the commercial viability of foreign technology acquisition by state-owned enterprises within the context of enterprise reforms. All the case study enterprises used technology transfer to develop new or improved products. Technologies acquired as parts of subcontracting arrangements and well-established technologies to produce end-use products are easier to manage and operate profitably. However, the latter type of technology has been imported by numerous enterprises and has led to fierce competition and industy restructuring. Importing capital-intensive and complex technology to produce major components for products, such as cars, is more difficult and requires closer coordination with customers and suppliers.
"Technology Transfer to the China Machine Tool Industry: The Need for a Technology Valuation Model", Bennett D J, Vaidya K G, Zhao H and Wang X M, Industry and Higher Education, Vol 11, No 1, 1997. Due to its fast growth China is rapidly becoming a focus for globalized manufacturing strategies and is now one of the world's largest markets for technology. The international transfer of manufacturing technology has also contributed significantly to the recent sharp increase in the rate of China's industrial development. The Chinese machine tool industry, for example, has exhibited an annual growth of more than 12% between 1980 and 1995 and is now one of the largest markets for machine tool technology. Technology transfer agreements are not motivated only by the willingness of foreign suppliers but also by the desire of Chinese enterprises to acquire technology. One of the major problems in technology transfer is how to establish the value of the technology. In many cases partnerships between foreign companies and Chinese enterprises fail to become established because the value of technology cannot be agreed by both sides. It is therefore important to establish a method for valuing transferred technology. This paper outlines the concept of a technology valuation model which is being developed using empirical data from the machine tool industry. It is based on research carried out in the UK and China, and draws on selected case studies of technology transfer in the machine tool sector supplemented by information obtained from questionnaire surveys carried out in both countries.
"Reliability Management of Machine Tool Technology: A Case Study of Current Practice", Ahmed J and Bennett D J, International Journal of Materials and Product Technology, Vol 11, No 5/6, 1996. Considerable attention has been given in the literature to identifying and describing the effective elements which positively affect the improvement of product reliability. These have been perceived by many as the 'state of the art' in the manufacturing industry. The applicability, diffusion and effectiveness of such methods and philosophies, as a means of systematically improving the reliability of a product, come in the main from case studies and single and infra-industry empirical studies. These studies have both been carried out within the wider context of quality assurance and management, and taking reliability as a discipline in its own right. However, it is somewhat of a surprise that there are no recently published findings or research studies on the adoption of these methods by the machine tool industry. This may lead one to construct several hypothesised paradigms: (a) that machine tool manufacturers compared to other industries, are slow to respond to propositions given in the literature by theorists or (b) this may indicate that a large proportion of the manufacturers make little use of the reliability improvement techniques as described in the literature, with the overall perception that they will not lead to any significant improvements? On the other hand, it is evident that hypothetical verification of the operational and engineering methods of reliability achievement and improvement adopted in the machine tool industry is less widely researched. Therefore, research into this area is needed in order to explore the 'state of the art' practice in the machine tool industry. This is in terms of the status, structure and activities of the operation of the reliability function. This paper outlines a research programme being conducted with the co-operation of a leading machine tool manufacturer, whose UK manufacturing plant produces in the main Vertical Machining Centres (VMC's) and is continuously undergoing incremental transitions in product reliability improvement.
"Modelling and Benchmarking Business Processes: The Supply Line Example", Hewitt F, Robinson S L and Bennett D J, Benchmarking for Quality Management and Technology, Vol 3, No 2, 1996. Early benchmarking efforts in the areas of distribution and warehousing were focused on discrete, easily measured task components, such as cubic capacity utilization of warehouses and the cost of the movement of goods per tonne/kilometre of cargo. However, as discrete departmental activities were replaced by integrated logistics practices, also known as supply chain management, the established cost comparison approach to benchmarking was supplemented or replaced by a focus on service level comparisons. The focus can be said to have changed from lowest cost as benchmark to best value for money as benchmark. Even more recently, with the emergence of continuous supply-line process management, the focus of benchmarking activities has moved on again. Process efficiency, effectiveness and reliability are now seen as the keys to competitiveness and it therefore follows that supply-line process performance should be the comparator in benchmarking exercises. In an attempt to achieve world-class levels of supply-line management, the most advanced companies now see process improvement as the key. A combination of process-related output measures such as customer satisfaction results and in-process measures such as schedule flexibility are therefore emerging as the likely foci for future benchmarking activity in logistics. Interestingly, these process metrics are identical in nature to the input factors used in modelling exercises. By combining benchmarking and modelling the possibility is therefore emerging of creating a “theoretical benchmark” of performance beyond the level of even the best current practitioners. In theory, even the best companies can use this approach to identify avenues for further improvement, and there is no reason to believe that this approach cannot apply to other business processes beyond supply-line management. In effect, modelling, business process analysis and benchmarking may all be merging into a single, highly powerful tool set, capable of yielding significant performance improvement across a wide range of business activities.
"Lean Production in a Changing Competitive World: A Japanese Perspective" Katayama H and Bennett D J, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol 16, No 2, 1996. Since its publication in 1990, the book The Machine that Changed the World, with its advocacy of “lean production”, has dominated much of the theory and practice of production systems design. So well known and compelling have the principles and demonstrated benefits of lean production become that there are now very few countries and industries where its influence, along with its associated methodologies such as just-in-time (JIT), total quality management (TQM) and total productive maintenance (TPM) have not been felt. However, the strength of this influence, along with, that of other related philosophies such as world-class manufacturing, has meant that the rules of competition have themselves been changing. In many respects the resultant change in thinking about the way in which industrial production should be organized can be compared with the change brought about by the automobile, or the “machine” referred to by Womack and his colleagues in the title of their book. The purpose of this article is to examine the role and significance of lean production within the context of the current industrial and economic environment in Japan. It explores the contemporary pressures on Japanese companies and considers how they are demanding a response to the new conditions which are emerging as a result of the continuously changing economic, competitive and industrial situation. For its empirical evidence, it draws on the recent experiences of four Japanese manufacturing plants. The first is the final assembly plant of a major automobile manufacturer, in the industry acknowledged for its pioneering role in developing lean production, the second is an electronics plant of a telecommunications equipment company, the third is a plant manufacturing refrigerators and the fourth makes domestic air conditioners. The case studies illustrate that Japanese companies can no longer rely on concepts developed during the 1980s. In order to remain competitive they must adapt to developments in the market and a changing industrial relations climate. Moreover, there is the paradox that Japanese companies’ overseas operations are reducing the opportunities for their own domestic plants to rely on exports as their means of achieving large production volumes.
"How Much is Technology Worth?" Bennett D J and Vaidya K G, Technology Strategies, No 125, July/August, 1996. With greater globalization of manufacturing, the transfer of technology across national boundaries has become more common and the forms of technology transfer more complex. Increasingly the "trade channel", where technology is transferred through sale or licence, is being superseded by the "investment channel ", where transfer is facilitated through joint ventures, technology collaborations and co-production agreements. The complexity of such arrangements prompts the question of how much technology is worth when it is transferred between suppliers and acquirers. Our research on the transfer of machine tool technology to China has highlighted this problem. Many UK machine tool manufacturers think Chinese enterprises try to negotiate low prices without appreciating the value of technology to be transferred. On the other hand, interviews with Chinese machine tool enterprises have revealed that foreign technology suppliers are often thought to over-value their technology by underestimating the existence of competing technologies and the capability of Chinese enterprises to acquire and develop technology from alternative sources.
"Technology Transfer Under China's Economic Reforms: Business Environment and Success Factors", Zhu F, Wang X M, Bennett D J and Vaidya K G, Technology Management, Vol 2, No 1, 1995. The opening up of the Chinese economy and the associated transfer of technology from abroad have been taking place at an accelerating pace. Technology is crucial to China's industrial development. It is a productive resource and has a vital role in the process of economic and social development. This article provides an overview of technology transfer into China, focusing on recent developments, and examines the macroenvironmental and microenvironmental influences which foreign enterprises must consider when making investments or technology transfer decisions. Cases of companies engaged in international technology transfer are used to illustrate the discussion on the microenvironment. To be successful, foreign investors and suppliers of technology must respond to China's industrial priorities and pursue projects that are compatible with the country's broad policy goals as well as the corporate objectives of Chinese partners. The article concludes by listing a number of points to which attention should be paid before a decision is made to transfer technology to China.