24 research outputs found

    Collaborative learning within a network and the role of action research

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    Driving collaborative improvement processes

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    Continuous improvement is a consolidated concept in theory and practice, mainly in the context of stand-alone companies. However, the battlefield of competition is increasingly moving from the level of individual firms to that of organizational settings based on loose company boundaries and collaborative relations among different units, such as the extended manufacturing enterprises (EMEs). The concept of continuous improvement has hardly been applied in inter-organizational settings. The purpose of this paper is to propose preliminary theory on collaborative improvement (CoI), i.e. continuous improvement at the EME level. Based on a literature study on supply networks and continuous improvement, evidence from an in-depth case study of a large Dutch system integrator in the automotive industry and three of its suppliers, a model of CoI is proposed, explaining how collaborative improvement takes place within the EME context

    Collaborative improvement: What do we know? Where do we need to go?

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    Although especially through research performed across the CINet community, a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge has been developed on intra-firm continuous improvement, there is still a substantial lack of empirically grounded contributions and theories on collaborative improvement (CoI), that is, CI in an inter-organizational setting. The so-called CO-IMPROVE project investigated whether and how the concept of CI can be extended and transferred to inter-organizational processes. The objective of the paper is to evaluate the research findings in view of existing theories on CI. Thus, the paper actually presents an attempt to find out about the similarities and differences of extant CI theory to CoI settings by assessing what is specific for CoI, what for CI, and where theories on the two areas of application meet and overlap

    From continuous improvement to collaborative improvement: scope, scale, skill and social networking in collaborative improvement

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    More than ever, companies are challenged to improve their performance and respond quickly and accurately to changes within the market. As competitive battlefield is moving towards the level of networks of organisations, the individual firm is an inadequate entity for identifying improvements. Therefore the concept of continuous improvement must be applied and used in inter-organisational settings, leading to the concept of collaborative improvement. However the process of applying and transferring CI to inter-organisational settings is fraught with intra- and inter-organisational change issues and working practices. For companies to be able to effectively manage and organise the process of collaborative improvement knowledge and understanding on the process itself is needed

    Continuous improvement in The Netherlands: a survey-based study into current practices

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    Continuous Improvement (CI) is a well-known and consolidated concept in management literature and practice, and is considered vital in today's business environment. In 2003, a survey, which is part of the international CINet survey, was conducted in The Netherlands in order to gain insight into current practices and the evolution of continuous improvement over the past five years. This article describes the results of the Dutch survey, from a sample of 51 companies. The main motives found for continuous improvement were customer satisfaction, productivity, quality, and delivery reliability. CI contributed to several performance areas, but the implementation of CI was fraught with many difficulties. It appears that it is difficult for companies to design and implement an approach towards continuous improvement that is in line with their own perceptions

    Action research in collaborative improvement

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    There is an increasing need to apply and transfer continuous improvement (CI) to inter-organisational processes. As such collaborative improvement (CoI) is emerging as a new concept within managerial literature and practice. This paper begins with a discussion on the logic and value of applying action research (AR) in empirical research in the field of CI and CoI to contribute to both theory and practice. It introduces the theory and characteristics of AR and describes the implementation of an AR process in an inter-organisational setting through the adoption of an AR model. Finally, it discusses the generation of theory through AR and concludes that AR is relevant and valid in research on CI and CoI as it contributes both to concerns of practitioners and the body of knowledge

    Implementing collaborative improvement, top-down, bottom-up, or both?

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    The research presented in this paper was aimed at increasing the current understanding of the process of developing collaborative improvement in Extended Manufacturing Enterprises (EME). Based on action research and action learning of three EMEs involving a total of thirteen companies from five European countries, the present study identifies three different approaches to collaborative improvement (CoI), that is, inter-organisational continuous improvement. One approach to CoI focuses on learning at a practical level, developing this knowledge into strategic and theoretical knowledge. We call this the bottom-up learning-bydoing approach. Another approach focuses on goal alignment and assessment to provide a foundation for improvement before actually improving. We call this the top-down directive approach. Yet another approach focuses on shared goals/vision and meeting on equal terms, and joint work in a non-directive matter. This is the laissez-faire approach. The different approaches influence the collaborative improvement results achieved, and how and why they do so is the question addressed this article

    Continuous improvement in the Netherlands: A survey-based study into the current practices of continuous improvement

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    Continuous Improvement is a well-known and consolidated concept in literature and practice and is considered vital in today¿s business environment. In 2003 a survey, as part of the international CINet survey, has been performed in the Netherlands in order to gain insight into the current practices and the evolution of continuous improvement over the past 5 years. From a sample of 51 companies, this paper describes the results of the Dutch survey. The main motives for continuous improvement are customer satisfaction, productivity, quality and delivery reliability. Continuous improvement contributed to several performance areas, but the implementation is fraught with a lot of difficulties. It appears to be difficult for companies to design and implement an approach towards continuous improvement that is in line with their own perception

    Implementing Collaborative Improvement

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