Implementing collaborative improvement, top-down, bottom-up, or both?


Kaltoft, Rasmus and Boer, Harry and Caniato, Federico and Gertsen, Frank and Middel, Rick and Steendahl Nielsen, Jacob (2004) Implementing collaborative improvement, top-down, bottom-up, or both? In: Continuous Innovation: Strategic Priorities for the Global Knowledge Economy, 22-25 September 2004, Sydney, Australia (pp. pp. 704-716).

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Abstract:The research presented in this paper was aimed at increasing the current understanding of the process of developing collaborative improvement in Extended Manufacturing Enterprises (EME). Based on action research and action learning of three EMEs involving a total of thirteen companies from five European countries, the present study identifies three different approaches to collaborative improvement (CoI), that is, inter-organisational continuous improvement. One approach to CoI focuses on learning at a practical level, developing this knowledge into strategic and theoretical knowledge. We call this the bottom-up learning-bydoing approach. Another approach focuses on goal alignment and assessment to provide a foundation for improvement before actually improving. We call this the top-down directive approach. Yet another approach focuses on shared goals/vision and meeting on equal terms, and joint work in a non-directive matter. This is the laissez-faire approach. The different approaches influence the collaborative improvement results achieved, and how and why they do so is the question addressed this article.
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