Doctor of Philosophy
Department of Management
Schubert, Maren, Exploring concurrent engineering practice: human resource management and organisational power and politics, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Department of Management, University of Wollongong, 2000. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/1462
This thesis explored Concurrent Engineering, one recent approach to product innovation (Parsaei and Sullivan, 1993; Syan and Menon, 1994), which seeks to achieve a balance between organisational, technological and human factors in new product development (Prasad, 1996) in order to gain efficiencies of time and cost, and improve product quality. As a contribution to the literature on implementation processes, the thesis presents the findings from a longitudinal case study of a project, which sought to introduce CE into an Australian manufacturer of military electronics systems. It also examines the implications of introducing CE for the overall organisation. Particular attention is given to HRM aspects and the role of human resource management (HRM) in the implementation of CE. It is argued that HRM is a key consideration for the successful introduction of CE. Almost all aspects of managing the product development process under a CE approach are linked to people management. Yet, surprisingly, HRM often receives little attention in implementing CE. A possible explanation was found in the play of organisational power and politics around the project. Drawing on the case study findings, the thesis demonstrates that CE, despite the technical connotations of the term, is a complex organisational issue in the sense that its successful implementation requires appropriate organisational culture, skills, structures, and interpersonal relations. So, when companies consider the introduction of CE the human side of the organisation should be included in the focus from the beginning.