A boundary-based view of product development - A feasibility study

P. K. Smart, N. J. Brookes, F. Lettice, C. J. Backhouse, N. D. Burns

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The 'Working the Boundaries' research project investigates the organization structural changes in the Rover Group arm of the BMW AG corporation. An important aim of this research is to determine the feasibility of a 'boundary-based' view to organizing human resources during product development. This viewpoint stresses the need for firms to consider not only the strategic placement of formal organizational boundaries but also the concurrent development of innovative options for overcoming them. This paper presents some important grounded theoretical developments. They focus on the identification of an important mechanism - the informal organization used to overcome formal organization boundaries. The informal organization is based on a network of self-generated, self-organized and self-managed interrelationships between product developers. They form the foundations of effective and efficient flows of information, experience, knowledge and ideas during product development task activity. Consequently product development performance relies significantly on a formal recognition of the informal organization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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