Increasing OrganizationalEfficiency in a Cross-Brand, Cross-Cultural Project : A Case Study of a Swedish-German R&DCollaboration

University essay from KTH/Maskinkonstruktion (Inst.)

Abstract: It is increasingly common that organizations enter different forms of collaborations to extend their capabilities in order to reach mutual goals and remain competitive on a rapidly changing market. Due to a gap in literature on cross-cultural collaborations, the purpose of this study is to explore how to increase organizational efficiency in a cross-brand, cross-cultural project. A collaborative project within the TRATON GROUP is observed with a focus on the Swedish and German automotive companies Scania and MAN. With the aim to portray the current situation of challenges within the collaborative project and to suggest improvements for efficiency, two research questions are developed.The study is initiated by gaining an understanding of the specific case and, in parallel, conducting a literature research. By the incorporation of factors for collaborative work and critical success factors for projects, a model of critical collaboration factors is developed and used to map the empirical results to previous research. The model contains several factors that are believed to aid collaborations in increased efficiency. Next, the empirical results are gathered through a total of eleven qualitative interviews with employees from Scania, MAN, and TRATON. Two specific working areas within the collaboration project are chosen as unit of analysis, due to one of them having progressed better than the other one and could therefore provide the study with a practical comparison of project progress.Conclusively, the aim of the study is answered by combining existing literature with a comparison of the working areas within the collaboration project. The study shows that corporate cultures can influence organizational structures and approaches, which leads to several challenges and differences in their ways of working. Although, efficiency can be increased by assessing the critical collaboration factors developed in the model. The study highlights that factors such as shared goals, common organizational structure, resource availability, match of competencies in teams, and relationship-building are strongly related to increased progress and efficiency. Lastly, recommendations to the commissioning firm are provided to bridge differences between the brands to increase their efficiency and progress.

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