This study examines interface management as a dynamic organizational capability supporting an increasing global distribution of knowledge work, based on an in-depth case of an automotive supplier. We show how local responses to experiences of task and interface ambiguity following the relocation of R&D processes may lead to a shift of organizational attention from ex-ante process design to continuous process and interface management. Findings suggest that flexible interface manager positions and partnership structures across locations facilitate local experimentation with effective transfer and handling of ambiguous and partially tacit tasks. This enhances the firm’s capacity to distribute an increasing variety of knowledge work. Findings stress the importance of interface management in supporting the effective global re-organization of knowledge work, and the role of local experimentation, centralized global learning and flexible structural support for dynamic global capability development.
Manning, S., Hutzschenreuter, T., Strathmann, A. 2013. “Emerging Capability or Continuous Challenge? Relocating Knowledge Work and Managing Process Interfaces”. Industrial and Corporate Change, Forthcoming.
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