Behind the wheel : A closer look at influential relationships among internal factors driving a technological paradigm shift

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Industriell teknik

Abstract: Global sustainability awareness and governmental regulations are pushing the automotive industry into finding alternatives to carbon dioxide emitting products. Solutions utilizing electricity in the vehicle powertrain is overtaking market share from internal combustion engines (ICE). This tendency has spread into the heavy-duty truck segment which poses questions regarding the future of the ICE. An alternative, electric motors, powered with batteries, fuel cells of even ICE’s, is thought to become a core part of future mobility. To mitigate discontinuities during a shift from ICE to electric motors, a study of possible factors affecting such transition has been performed. The result indicates 14 main factors which are thought to have a definite role in a major technology paradigm shift. These factors are: Supplier relations, Material management, Material availability, Available space, Scalability, Product flexibility, Risk management, External resource utilization, Internal relations, Demand estimation, Management endorsement, Appropriate methodology, Employee engagement, and Competence renewal. A structure using ISM methodology is established highlighting the factors’ influencing relation to each other. Anchored in the theory regarding paradigmatic shifts within industry, a tendency of technological, managerial, and institutional influence on organizational change can be discerned where the institutional level poses as the fundamental dimension of derived quality. The factors are identified from a Scania specific case but are broad enough to apply to similar situations facing challenges of a technological paradigm shift.

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