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Cross-project learning : a study based on the Israeli\ud electronics defence industry

By Ilan Oshri


This thesis alms to develop a comprehensive understanding of cross-project\ud learning in multiple-project environments. Cross-project learning is the process\ud through which technologies are transferred and reused within organisations.\ud Recent years have seen a growing interest in cross-project learning. However,\ud research in this area has emphasised the rational, classical approach to crossproject\ud learning. Also, the majority of research on cross-project learning has\ud largely been on the automobile industry in Japan and the USA. Thirdly, research\ud in this field has failed to assess the impact that cross-project learning has had on\ud other organisational processes in product development. The conclusions of these\ud studies are context-specific, fragmented and lack any critical assessment of the\ud process of introducing cross-project learning.\ud This study argues that a rather different approach to cross-project learning is\ud needed. A three-level analysis is applied in the present study that highlights\ud operational, dysfunctional and strategic aspects in cross-project learning. The\ud empirical core of the research is the evidence from three in-depth case studies\ud conducted in the Israeli electronics defence industry.\ud Three different approaches to cross-project learning have been identified at the\ud operational level, offering organisational mechanisms and managerial practices\ud that have not previously been reported. At the dysfunctional operations level, the\ud study reveals that the introduction of innovations in cross-project learning has\ud impacted the past harmony between expertise development and knowledge\ud management practices. The findings suggest that this harmony has broken down\ud while the knowledge management and expertise development practices have been\ud further transformed and developed. Lastly, at the strategic level of analysis, two\ud potential cross-project learning strategies have been detected: exploit product\ud success and design to reuse. A contingency model that emphasises the\ud evolutionary development path of 'modes of reusability', subject to the 'strategic\ud development' of the studied companies, concludes this study

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