Essays on knowledge management strategies in new product development
Ozkan, Gulru F.
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Management of knowledge involved in the new product development (NPD) projects is critical to the success of firms competing in environments that require rapid innovation. Unfortunately, many firms lack an understanding of how to develop knowledge management (KM) strategies that drive successful outcomes. In this thesis I develop a rich and multifaceted understanding of how KM strategies drive successful NPD outcomes. I examine KM strategies for NPD at two different decision making levels. First, I consider the how the manager of a single NPD project should pursue knowledge acquisition for its product and process design teams and knowledge transfer between the teams over time throughout the development project. The ability to develop and integrate knowledge drives the net revenue earned at the product release time. I show that two different dynamic KM strategies arise: a delay strategy and a front-loading strategy. I characterize drivers of each strategy and the drivers of the market entry time strategy. In contrast to the deterministic approach above, I introduce a stochastic model. The manager of a single NPD project maximizes expected net revenue which reflects the effectiveness of product and process development. I consider the effect of rework that occurs as a result of the KM activities. Although manager's strategies for knowledge creation satisfy either the delay or front-loading strategy the drivers of each strategy in this model are substantially different from those in the first model reflecting the stochastic nature of the project and the effect of rework. In a third model, I consider the strategic level question of how a firm engages in relationships with its competitor regarding the sharing or transfer of knowledge resources for NPD. I consider two cooperative mechanisms: knowledge transfer when both firms ultimately enter the market separately as competitors versus knowledge sharing when both firms enter the market together following the joint development of a new product. In this thesis, I develop the KM strategies followed by the firms for each cooperation mechanism. In addition, I analyze the impact of firm and market characteristics on firms decision to whether to cooperate or not, and other KM decisions.