Competency rallying for technical innovation: The case of the Virtuelle Fabrik

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Technovation, Volume 28, Number 10, p.679–692 (2008)

Keywords:

Virtual Organization

Abstract:

Technology improves at an ever-increasing rate, but the speed at which firms can adapt their strategies and competencies to develop technological innovations and exploit market opportunities remains limited. While networks provide an option to increase agility through collaborative access to relevant external competencies, we know little about systematically managing such networks. This paper identifies a collaborative network process that we label competency rallying. We describe the set of inter-organizational routines involved in competency rallying in a case study of the interactions among the partners of the Virtuelle Fabrik, a case of an organized regional network in the manufacturing industry in Switzerland. We describe competency rallying as the (1) identification and development of competencies, (2) identification and facing of market opportunities, (3) marshalling of competencies, and (4) short-term cooperative effort for technological innovation and commercialization. The paper contributes a model that furthers the understanding of the organizational character of networks based on specific, learned network capabilities and which allows prediction of the likelihood of success of practical collaboration projects in networked organizations.

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