Managerial Influence on Simulation Driven Product Development - A study on simulation technologies and the role of management
Abstract: The intensifying global competition and technological advancements are forcing companies to change their organizational structures and redevelop their product development processes. In many cases, simulation technologies possess the capabilities to provide managers with an increased competitiveness if utilized successfully. However, managers must ensure new technologies fit with the organizational structure and process to ensure a smooth organizational change. Management also have an increasingly important role in influencing employees’ attitudes towards new technologies such as simulation technologies. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to understand in what capacities managers can influence the utilization with simulation technologies and become more competitive in the marketplace as well as understanding the organizational benefits and challenges associated with simulation technologies. This was investigated through a qualitative research by interviewing eight managers who have an extensive knowledge of applying simulation technologies in product development, thus taking the managerial perspective on the matter. The findings were then analyzed through a thematic analysis to identify common themes in the role of management as well as organizational benefits and challenges. Three main findings were established with various support in the literature. Firstly, it was found that speed of development and cost efficiencies were the main organizational benefits from applying simulation technologies in product development. Secondly, relating to organizational challenges it was found that change management and the increasing knowledge requirement were challenging for the organizations when applying simulation technologies. Thirdly, when it comes to managerial influence over simulation utilization in product development results indicated that the factors are to some extent are organization dependent. Nevertheless, it was found managers have a crucial role in auditing the organizations abilities to utilize simulation and based on this set a long-term plan of integrating simulation technologies. Moreover, managers have an important role in continuously working with the employee’s mindset during the organizational change to lower the resistance towards new technologies. In conclusion to reach the desired outcome when applying simulation technologies in product development managers have a long journey ahead which includes ensuring the right capabilities and competences exist to utilize simulation technologies. Therefore, managers are in a crucial position to influence the development and utilization of simulation technologies within the future product development process.
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