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Title: The creation of a new product development capability in UK manufacturing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
Author: Noke, Hannah
ISNI:       0000 0001 3448 2800
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2006
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This is a study of how manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) create a new product development (NPD) capability in the UK. The UK's innovative and productive performance remains a subject of considerable concern, not least because of its increasing productivity gap, but also because of concerns relating to the manufacturing industry's reliance on gaining process efficiencies. Indeed it is believed that to remain competitive a move up the value chain is a necessity, through the likes of new product development. This exploratory research has adopted a qualitative approach, through interpretative means, allowing a rich and in-depth understanding to be gained. The study incorporates four detailed case studies on UK based manufacturing SMEs. A number of research methods were employed to aid triangulation of the data, including unstructured and semi-structured interviews, observation and documentation, such as company brochures and website material. The thesis makes two contributions to new knowledge and understanding. Firstly, the strategies that are employed and found to enable the creation of a NPD capability are identified; these include external involvement with other organisations to access resources and skills not possessed by the firms themselves. These outward facing strategies incorporate the use of strategic alliances, licensing of technology and ideas, and outsourcing elements of the NPD process. In addition, an internal, in-house development process was utilised. This offered the firms control of the process and the opportunity to capitalise on their own unique knowledge and skills which provided them with a competitive advantage. Secondly, this study provides a unique insight into the factors that are required for SMEs to create a NPD capability. Interestingly, this research indicates that these factors are not created simultaneously; rather, they occur at different rates and as such were categorised as 'enablers', i.e. those factors already enabling the creation of a NPD capability. The second group of factors, 'qualifiers', were found to be important to the creation of a NPD capability, but were not fully developed and were not enabling the process. However, the research identified the potential of 'qualifiers' to become enablers over time.
Supervisor: Bessant, John ; Radnor, Zoe Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available