Management Functions Essay
There Is inconsiderable evidence of a differentiation of roles across international R&D units, and some discussion of the need to manage different units in different ways. The implication is that it should be possible to narrow the issue identified at the outset into a more specific question, namely ‘How do control modes and communication systems vary across international R;D unit roles? ‘ Of course, certain systems may be uniformly used across the whole sample, but If we accept that distinct types can be Identified, the appropriate starting point from theory Is an expectation that modes of control and communication also vary. Which studies have developed comprehensive typologies of foreign R&D units? The preference has been to type R&D units primarily according to the nature of their activity, I. E. , whether they are responsible for adapting technology, developing new products, undertaking pure research, etc. Other characteristics that have been used to discriminate between types are the geographic scope of the unit, linkages to other entities in the corporation, and mode of formation. While the samples were very different in each case, there is a surprising consistency in the proposed types.
What follows is a discussion of the three major types. To
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It is similar to Raincoat’s (1977) technology transfer unit and H;season and Novel’s (1993) technical support unit. Local adaptors are always local as implied by Roundest, is to ease the transfer of technology from the parent company to the subsidiary manufacturing location. As such, the local adaptor is entirely consistent with the product life cycle model, whereby innovations arise in the home country and are ‘rolled out’ in succession to foreign markets. International adaptor.
This is the equivalent of Parse’s locally integrated laboratory which ‘provides backup for a local producing unit, but aspires to a more fundamentally creative role than a support laboratory, seeking to endow its subsidiary with some kind of product autonomy. Other counterparts are Raincoat’s indigenous technology unit, which has responsibility for developing ‘new and improved products expressly for foreign markets’ and H;season and Novel’s adaptive R;D unit. Summered proposes the home base exploiting unit which appears to cover both the local adaptor and international adaptors in our typology.
International creator. This is the equivalent of Parse’s internationally interdependent laboratories, which ‘provide inputs into a centrally defined and coordinated R;D program, with no necessary connection with host country producing operations’. The distinguishing characteristics visit-a-visit international adaptors are: (a) research and development, rather than improvement and adaptation responsibilities; and (b) linkages primarily to corporate and divisional R&D, not local manufacturing. . What are existing modes of control and what differences among them? Centralization Formalization Colonization In centralization decision-making power is retained at the headquarters, while in Formalization decision-making is routine through rules and procedures and in Colonization organization members develop common expectations and shared values that promote likened decision-making. These modes are complementary and competing approaches to control.